The plan to test for the virus in schools starts with delays and fewer centres than announced
The first results of PCR tests on students and teachers will arrive after Easter
BarcelonaWith a few months' delay and fewer centers than expected, the Escoles Sentinella project has started. It aims to investigate how the pandemic evolves in Catalan schools and further refine health measures for schools. The Departments of Education and Health announced in September that 50 primary and secondary schools would be monitored for two years, with students and teachers taking regular PCR tests to to track cases. Finally, and as Europa Press has advanced, the project started a few weeks ago and includes 26 volunteer centers.
According to Europa Press, the first results will come at the end of the second quarter, after Easter. "It will not be possible to generalise much, but indicative things may emerge to help redefine some policies," explained the project coordinator and director of the Center for Epidemiological Studies on STDs and AIDS in Catalonia (CEEISCAT), Jordi Casabona. The project, promoted by the Departments of Health and Education, also counts Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol, Hospital de la Vall d'Hebron and ISGlobal amongst its participants. It also plans to carry out PCR tests every 15 days on students over 12 years of age and self-sample tests on teachers.
Aspects such as the size of classrooms, ventilation hours, movement flows between classes and corridors and other preventive measures, such as environmental humidity and student behaviour in relation to covid-19, will also be analysed. Casabona said that the most likely conclusion would be that it is necessary to increase ventilation, a measure that, according to the director general of Public Schools, Josep Gonzàlez-Cambray, "is here to stay. According to Cambray, the first phases of the project have met with a "very good reaction" from the centers. Half of the families have given their consent to participate in the plan.