The health ministry said on Tuesday that it will propose that educators, as well as children attending kindergarten, be included in the ‘Test-to-Stay’ programme.

Speaking after a meeting with teachers unions, Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantelas said he’d bring the proposal to include teachers at Wednesday’s session of the cabinet.

Should it get the nod, the policy would be implemented as of next Monday.

As for the proposal to include pre-schoolers in the ‘Test-to-Stay’ scheme, this would likely be put to the cabinet the following week.

Hadjipantelas heard the teachers’ concerns over the scheme and the problems they face, as well as with the requirement for a 72-hour negative rapid test that applies at gymnasiums and lyceums.

The union of secondary school teachers (Oelmek) has voiced concern that application of ‘Test-to-Stay’ does not adequately monitor the spread of the coronavirus in schools.

But the ministry, citing its own data, says that the positivity rate in schools is lower than that in the general population, and that the measure ensures that no youngster has to self-isolate if they do not have Covid and thus disrupt their education.

Also on Tuesday, the health minister noted that any relaxations to coronavirus-related measures in schools would come about only if the epidemiological situation permits.

“From the briefing I have had so far,” Hadjipantelas said, “right now we have a higher positivity rate. We hope this percentage does not translate into additional hospitalisations.

“If hospitalisations do not increase, and the positivity rate remains stable, we will consider it [relaxations], always in consultation with the scientific advisory committee that will convene next Tuesday.”