Schools partner with pharmacies to test pupils

“We will sign a protocol with the National Association of Pharmacies (ANF), which will allow all our pupils to be tested at zero cost to families and schools,” the president of ANDAEP, Filinto Lima, told Lusa at the end of the online meeting held this morning between the two entities. [Halfpoint/SHUTTERSTOCK]

Schools will make agreements with local pharmacies to perform screening tests for COVID-19 on their pupils, the president of the National Association of Directors of Groupings and Public Schools (ANDAEP) said on Thursday.

“We will sign a protocol with the National Association of Pharmacies (ANF), which will allow all our pupils to be tested at zero cost to families and schools,” the president of ANDAEP, Filinto Lima, told Lusa at the end of the online meeting held this morning between the two entities.

ANDAEP members should get the information about the agreement on Monday, and it will be up to each school to define how they intend to carry out the screening campaign for their pupils.

“They can do the tests in pharmacies or schools”, explained Filinto Lima, recalling that currently, all people are entitled to four free tests per month, and “we have to make the most of this opportunity”.

The agreement came as a way to “get around the predictable absence of tests for our pupils”, added Filinto Lima, referring to the testing campaign to the school community that started this week.

On Monday, classes restarted after the Christmas holidays and teachers and non-teaching staff began to be tested in schools throughout the country. By decision of the Directorate-General of Health, the vaccination campaign only covers around 220,000 teachers and non-teaching staff.

“The bulk of teachers and staff have already been vaccinated with the booster dose and are still resorting to testing. In my school, for example, I had a strong adhesion because the testing gives more security,” said the also director of the Agrupamento de Escolas Dr Costa Matos in Vila Nova de Gaia.

“The vaccine is not compulsory, just as testing is not compulsory. Right now, schools have pupils, teachers and staff who are vaccinated and others who are not. Just as some have been tested and others have not.”

On Monday, when classes resumed after a week of downtime due to the pandemic, the Minister of Education also recalled that pharmacies have four free tests per month.

(Sílvia Maia, lusa.pt)

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