Pupils will be tested in 8 regions from 1 and 8 November. Government approves extraordinary measures

In view of the current epidemic situation, the government has approved new measures at schools today. From 1 and 8 November, unvaccinated pupils at primary and secondary schools and conservatories in the districts of České Budějovice, Ostrava-City, Prostějov, Prachatice, Brno-Rural, Přerov, Opava and Karviná will be tested.

“We are seeing a significant hike in the number of infections. Based on an agreement with the Minister of Education and experts, we are targeting all the outbreaks epicenters, which include schools. Vaccinated children or those who have recovered from COVID-19 will not have to be tested,” said Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch, adding that children can also provide proof of a negative antigen or PCR test performed no more than 24 hours/72 hours prior by a healthcare provider.

Pupils who refuse to be tested will be required to wear respiratory protection (a respirator from the age of 15) at all times in the school building or outdoors, unless it is possible to maintain a distance of at least 1.5 m from other children or pupils. They will then only be allowed to exercise outdoors and must not use the showers, must not sing unless they can maintain a distance of 2 m, must use designated sanitary facilities and must sit at a desk or table when consuming food and drinks, and must maintain a distance of 1.5 m from other persons. Exceptions apply to children with a mental disability or serious health problem.

Employees of the school or school canteen may be present at the workplace only if they provide proof of OTN (vaccination, testing, recovery) or take an onsite antigen self-test with a negative result between 1 and 8 November. Otherwise, they must wear a respirator regardless of the distance from others.

The government today also laid out the procedure for when a student or staff member tests positive at school.  In this case, the school will contact the legal guardian, issue a certificate to the pupil, the pupil will leave the school and go for a confirmatory test. The same applies to an employee who tests positive at school. The school is also obliged to send a list of pupils who have tested positive to the Regional Public Health Authority and a list of those who have been in contact with the positive pupils.

University students are also required to demonstrate OTN in order to obtain accommodation at university colleges. However, they can also take an onsite preventive antigen test every 7 days. In the case of vaccination/recovery of illness, they are only required to demonstrate this prior to the commencement of accommodation.

The government also discussed modifications to the extraordinary measure on respiratory protection. The exemption from the requirement to use respirators when providing education will continue to apply only to teaching staff or academic staff who have been vaccinated against the COVID-19 disease.