REGINA MARIA Launches Safe Classroom Program offering free Antigen Rapid Test Packages for Public Schools

Mihai Cristea 23/03/2021 | 13:54

The new school semester came with a series of questions related to a safe return to school and alternative online classes. To support schools, especially those from less privileged backgrounds, REGINA MARIA, leader in healthcare quality in Romania, launched Safe Classroom, a national program dedicated to public schools and aligned with the measures provided by the antigen testing protocol in educational establishments, which provides free antigen testing for COVID-19 screening.

 

The latest data show that the number of infections among students and preschoolers has increased by an average of 22 cases per day, while among staff there has been an increase of about 40 cases per day. As a result, over 200 face to face class and group meetings were suspended between March 8 and March 15.

The program launched by REGINA MARIA Healthcare Network is addressed to all public schools in Romania, regardless of the city, with delivery in vulnerable or isolated areas as well. After registering on the REGINA MARIA website in the Safe Classroom section, each school will receive up to 5 packages containing 25 rapid antigen tests for COVID-19 screening. The tests provided by REGINA MARIA meet all the requirements specified in point 10 of the Order of the Minister of Health no.1819/2020 and will be accompanied by clear user instructions.

“Schools should be some of the safest places in a community where the foundations of social behaviour are laid, in addition to the obvious educational aspects. Through the Safe Classroom program, we aim to encourage schools to resume the normal pace of teaching. Through this investment, we are ready to support the resilience of the education system, the continuity of the educational act and a more predictable future for all of us in the long run”, said Nirvana Georgescu, Quality and Patient Safety Director, REGINA MARIA Healthcare Network.

 

Rapid antigen testing is recommended to:

  • Symptomatic students whose symptoms begin during class;
  • Colleagues of confirmed cases from the educational establishment (including asymptomatic ones), immediately after the confirmation of the first case;
  • Symptomatic teachers and other employees of the school, whose symptoms of disease begin during class, as well as contacts of positive confirmed cases (teachers in the office or other staff being less than 2m away for at least 15 min, without wearing face masks).

 

“The challenges schools have faced in the pandemic were numerous. We are fully feeling the effect of closing schools or restricting activities, regardless of the duration of these measures, and we believe that the risks of significant differences in the level of education of children in less privileged areas are increasing. We welcome REGINA MARIA’s decision and estimate that it could address the issue of the risk of classroom attendance, reducing possible crises in the future. Antigen tests will be useful in preventing the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. There are 2 medical offices in our school where tests can be performed in suspected cases”, said Adrian Hagiu, teacher and director of “Dimitrie Sturdza” Elementary School in Popești, which participates in the Teach for Romania program.

The rapid tests results are available 15 minutes after processing, have a 96.52% degree of sensitivity and a 99.68% degree of specificity. The tests provided by REGINA MARIA are accompanied by a series of guidelines on the correct collection of the nasal exudate and the processing and interpretation of the tests.

 

Information from the protocol in force regarding different symptomatology scenarios

 

Scenario I – Student identified with a temperature higher than 37.3˚C or COVID-19 suggestive symptoms

In this scenario, it is mandatory to notify the person in charge designated by the educational establishment and the medical staff within the school. The student shall be guided to the designated isolation room, where they shall be isolated and monitored.

The parent or legal representative of the minor student shall be notified and the testing for COVID-19 shall be performed using a rapid antigen test, based on an informed consent of the tutor or the written consent of the adult student.

The testing shall be performed by the nurse, on the recommendation of the physician of the educational establishment/county DSP representative, or by the physician of the educational establishment.

If the test result is negative, the school physician or nurse:

  • notifies the parents/legal representative of the minor student.
    • fills in all the fields in the testing form as accurately as possible and reports the tested case to the DSP to be entered in Coronaforms. A copy of the testing form is immediately sent to the parent/legal representative.
    • recommends notification of the family doctor by the parents/legal representative of the student.

If the test result is positive, the school physician or nurse:
• notifies the parents/legal representative of the minor student.
• recommends notification of the family doctor by the parents/legal representative of the student in order to establish the optimal conduct.
• fills in all the fields in the testing form as accurately as possible and reports the tested case to the DSP to be entered in Coronaforms. A copy of the testing form is immediately sent to the parent/legal representative.

In this case, classmates and colleagues from other classrooms, including asymptomatic ones, who have signed consent and had direct contact with the confirmed case on the day of confirmation and 2 days prior, shall be tested using rapid antigen tests. Classroom teachers shall also be tested. Fully vaccinated persons and those who have had the disease and no more than 90 days have passed since healing shall not be tested.

 

Scenario II – Teacher with a temperature higher than 37.3˚C or COVID-19 suggestive symptoms

If a teacher presents COVID-19 suggestive symptoms, they shall go to the space allocated to the test. On the recommendation of the physician of the educational establishment/county DSP representative, they shall be tested using a rapid antigen test, as indicated.

If the test result is negative, the school physician or the physician responsible for the school and/or the school nurse:

  • recommends the teacher to notify and consult the family doctor.
  • recommends isolation at home until symptoms disappear.
  • fills in all the fields in the testing form and reports the case to the DSP to be entered in Coronaforms.

If the test result is positive, the school physician or the physician responsible for the school and/or the school nurse:

  • recommends the teacher to notify and consult the family doctor by phone.
  • fills in all the fields in the testing form as accurately as possible and reports the case to the DSP to be entered in Coronaforms.

The contacts of the teacher detected positive shall be tested using rapid antigen tests to identify any positive cases as soon as possible. Fully vaccinated persons and those who have had the disease and no more than 90 days have passed since healing shall not be tested.

Studies conducted in the United States show that rapid antigen testing in schools can reduce the infection rate by up to 50%. Therefore, rapid testing can help streamline the monitoring and control of the national epidemiological situation at the same time as the national mass vaccination campaign, which has recently entered its third stage.

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