The contentious ‘test to stay’ measure will be implemented at schools as of Monday, the health ministry said on Tuesday after a meeting between Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas and the coronavirus advisory team.
The new measure, originally due to be introduced this past Monday, was put on hold last week after being met with strong pushback from teachers’ unions, who branded the decision as “dangerous” for them and students, going as far as threatening strike action.
Under the rule, announced by Hadjipantelas last week, pupils who are close contacts of confirmed cases that have no history of vaccination, instead of having to stay home would undergo a daily rapid test for a period of five days.
The aim, he said, was to keep schools operational and detect cases in a timely manner.
Concerns were also raised over the logistics of implementing the measure, prompting further meetings between stakeholders and including the House education committee.
Addressing the committee last week, Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou said a proposal and action plan would be finalised during a meeting with Hadjipantelas, coronavirus advisory team head Constantinos Tsioutis, teaching unions and parents’ associations.
The move is voluntary, the ministry said on Monday meaning parents can chose to keep their child home instead.
According to the health ministry, the decision to go ahead with the measure has been made, but it will be meeting with the education ministry to update all relevant school protocols.
On Wednesday, the ministry will also bring before cabinet the suggestion to cut self-isolation time for unvaccinated contacts from 14 to 10 days.