“Students will not participate in the saliva testing programme without the consent of their parents” and as of May 17th “public schools had reached a rate of around 31%,” the Minister of Education Diallo Rabain said.
Speaking during yesterday’s [May 19] press conference, Minister Rabain said, “As previously announced, in addition to our Covid-19 entry and exit school protocol guidelines, a self-administered saliva screening programme will be launched in our schools commencing next week. . This programme involves the weekly screening of one quarter or 25% of the school population.
“The saliva screening process is self-administered and a non-invasive method that will help keep our schools safe and open to learning. Once a week, a quarter or 25% of the school population will deposit a saliva sample in a tube; they will seal that tube and place it in a bag. The bag will be sealed and then taken to the Government’s Molecular Diagnostic Lab to be tested. All negative results for students will be emailed to their parents. In the event of a positive case, the result will be sent to the child’s physician, and the Department of Health will contact the parents.
“Students will not participate in the saliva testing programme without the consent of their parents. Last week parents were emailed an information letter explaining the saliva testing regime process and how it is self-adminsitered. A link to a consent form was also sent for parents to complete if they wanted their child to participate in the programme.
“The parental consent form will be kept on file at each of the schools. As of Sunday, May 16th, our Private Schools had a submission rate of over 90% parental consent forms. Public schools had reached a rate of around 31% by Monday, May 17th. As a result, the portal was reopened until 5 pm today for public school parents to submit their consent forms..
“I am appealing to our parents to log on and fill out the consent form to help keep our schools safe and keep them open for continuous learning.
“The saliva testing programme will enable us to be proactive with asymptomatic testing and to add another layer of protection for our students and school staff, against Covid-19.
“This will also help to identify students and isolate them quicker in their homes. Once again I ask our parents to please consider granting parental consent for this non-invasive saliva screening process. This will help to keep all schools open and safe for continuous learning until the end of the school term in June.”