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Covid-19, the slow start of tests in schools

The start of the school saliva test campaign is slower than expected. Launched after returning from winter vacation, it is mainly intended for elementary and kindergarten students for whom nasopharyngeal tests can be complicated. But the goal posted by the Minister of National Education of 300,000 weekly tests in mid-March seems difficult to achieve. ” We have all the means in terms of tests and logistics to reach, around mid-March, the objective of 300,000 tests per week », Had nevertheless promised Jean-Michel Blanquer on 1er March.

When questioned, the Ministry of Education is ” for the moment not able to give the figures “And nuance:” The objective is indeed to offer 300,000 tests per week from mid-March. Achieving this objective will depend in particular on the capacity of laboratories to have sufficient capacities throughout the country.

→ READ. Covid-19: easier and more accessible, saliva tests authorized on a large scale

For Guislaine David, co-secretary general of Snuipp-FSU, the first first degree union, it is precisely the logistics that go wrong: “ The organization of the tests rests almost exclusively on the shoulders of the school directors and many laboratories do not have the capacity to participate in these operations which take a lot of time ”, deplores the trade unionist who does not have any figures either: “Nobody informs us, neither on the number of tests carried out, nor on the number of positive cases. ” A good point, however: ” Saliva tests are minimally invasive, which allows the approval of a large majority of parents of students. », Notes Guislaine David.

School principals mobilized

In the school run by Caroline Pioger-Galiazzo, in Avranches (Manche) and which accommodates 400 nursery and primary pupils, the test was thus accepted by 85% of families. On Thursday March 11 and Friday March 12, 305 children and educational staff were able to be tested. Result: 303 negatives and two “Undetermined”, for presumably unusable samples.

The director had been warned a week earlier by her inspector that her establishment had been designated by the Normandy Regional Health Agency to participate in the campaign. “ We had to get organized very quickly, details Caroline Pioger-Galiazzo. On Monday, we asked for the parents ‘consent, on Tuesday, we got the photocopies of the pupils’ Vitale card to send them urgently to the referent analysis laboratory, all so that we could start the tests on Thursday. “With the help of the laboratory staff, several nursing students, members of civil security and a school nurse, everything went well,” because we had staff available to help us », Insists the director.

1,700 “anti-Covid mediators” being recruited

In addition to laboratory staff, who must be present during the first intervention, school nurses can, on a voluntary basis, take saliva samples. But Carole Pourvendier, general secretary of Snics-FSu, the union of school nurses, fears that these operations will take place ” to the detriment of other students for whom they are responsible, especially in middle school or high school “. Since the start of the pandemic, she has noted a ” 20% increase in consultations with school nurses ” Consequently ” an increased responsibility of presence for these young people, particularly affected by the crisis “.

→ A FEW WEEKS AGO. Covid-19: saliva tests arrive in schools

To ensure the logistics, in particular the tracing of contacts in the event of a positive test, and to discharge the nurses and director, the national education counts on 1,700 “anti-Covid mediators”. For the most part students, some in medicine others not, they are still being recruited, indicates the ministry. An initiative deemed ” a little late, but welcome »By Guislaine David.


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