Lithuania to test school teachers ahead of academic year

As Lithuania’s schools are preparing for the start of the academic year on September 1, the health minister has announced plans to test around 70 percent of the country’s teachers for the coronavirus.

Minister Aurelijus Veryga said on Thursday that rapid tests would be used for the purpose and the country’s municipal authorities were already instructed to estimate how many tests they would require.

“According to preliminary plans, some 70 percent of teachers will be tested in the beginning,” Veryga said.

Testing will not be compulsory, however, he added, and teachers will be able to refuse it.

Teaching in Lithuanian schools will start in classrooms rather than remotely.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Education presented recommendations for how to minimise the risks of Covid-19 infections in schools. These include managing student flows so as to avoid contact among kids in different classes. Schools are not required, however, to cut the number of students in class.

According to Education Minister Algirdas Monkevičius, students and teachers will not be required to wear facemasks in classrooms. However, some schools have decided to make masks mandatory during breaks.