Education 19:31 15/09/2020 Armenia

Schools reopen across Armenia, with not all school employees tested for coronavirus yet

Author Nare Gevorgyan

Schools reopened across Armenia on Tuesday after a two-week delay, however as it was the case one month ago, teachers and parents are facing uncertainty, hoping that at least within the next week they will figure out what to do.

Apart from the mandatory rule to wear face masks, repeatedly disinfect hands and practice social distancing, today teachers and parents are facing another problem concerning the testing of school staffs, which, as it turns out, has not been properly organized.

Although during the nationwide parent-teacher meeting on 26 August, Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports Zhanna Andreasyan assured that before the launch of the academic year all teachers would be tested for coronavirus, it is still up in the air.

Panorama.am has learned that teachers from not all schools under the control of the Gegharkunik Regional Administration have undergone testing, which has caused concerns among many parents, who are afraid that one or more teachers may be infected and pass the virus to their children.

In response to Panorama.am's question why it has not been possible to test all teachers before the reopening of schools, Lusine Vardanyan, Head of the Health and Social Security Department of the Regional Administration, said the province has no laboratory and the test samples taken from people are sent to Yerevan, therefore, it has not been possible to test all school staffers.

However, she said that in the near future the province will have its own laboratory and experts are currently undergoing training to carry out the work on the ground.

"We need to take samples from 4,570 school employees, but we have still collected 1,263 samples. At the moment 5 teachers and 3 administrative employees are infected. We continue testing the others in all communities," she added.

Asked whether in that case there are no risks that some of the teachers not tested yet may be carrying the virus and infect schoolchildren, Lusine Vardanyan said that schools are under strict control.

"Temperature checks are being conducted at schools, there are nurses in all schools, who examine the school employees on the ground. We are doing everything possible to rule out such cases, though there may be an infected teacher who has no symptoms. In any case, we are trying to carry out the sampling,” Vardanyan stated.

We also tried to understand why the fact that the provinces lack their own laboratories was not taken into account, giving rise to such a situation, but the Ministry of Health urged us to submit a written inquiry, while the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports said it was not clear yet whether they were to answer that question or the Ministry of Health.



Source Panorama.am
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