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Govt. considering requiring at-home COVID-19 tests for young students

By Yonhap

Published : Feb. 14, 2022 - 11:22

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A model holds COVID-19 test kits developed by Humasis at a branch of convenience store chain GS25. (GS25) A model holds COVID-19 test kits developed by Humasis at a branch of convenience store chain GS25. (GS25)

The education ministry is considering requiring kindergarten and elementary students to take rapid COVID-19 tests at home before going to school twice a week starting next month, officials said Monday.

"We're conducting discussions while leaving various possibilities open, including a measure to have students go to school after tests at home," a ministry official said.

Schools are bracing for the new semester next month amid the rapid spread of omicron, which has recently driven up the daily new COVID-19 tally to over the 50,000 level.

In a measure to protect young students against the pandemic, the ministry said last week it was discussing with regional education authorities the distribution of free rapid antigen test kits to conduct semiweekly tests on 3.3 million kindergarten and elementary students for five weeks.

The tentative test scheme for young children is drawing mixed reactions from parents.

"It's preposterous to subject children to nose swabbing twice every week even though they have not come in close contact with patients. I would rather prefer e-learning," one parent of a young student told Yonhap News Agency.

Another parent in Gyeonggi Province that surrounds the capital Seoul said, "Conducting a regular test will be more assuring for the parents to send their kids to school with less anxiety." (Yonhap)