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On the status of testing at daycare centers and schools in Jena


Lollipop PCR pool tests for Jena daycare centers for the first time / Commitment of PCR pool tests for infection cases at schools.

Starting September 27, 2021, testing of children can continue in Jena daycare centers.

On September 8, the City Council mandated the City of Jena to continue funding rapid testing at daycare centers. The tender for this was immediately launched and an experienced partner for the implementation was won with the Synlab laboratory.

Greater protection against infection through PCR tests

For the first time in Thuringia, so-called lollipop PCR pool tests will be used. PCR tests are significantly more sensitive than antigen tests and can detect an infection even when there is not yet a significant viral load and the associated risk of infection.

Nursery staff have been trained by Synlab and information for parents has been prepared. The tests can be carried out on a voluntary basis from next week and the daycare centres will gradually start using them.

Mayor Christian Gerlitz says: "We are convinced that the PCR pool test offers will be a decisive building block for safe daycare operations. Due to the close contacts that are a matter of course in daycare centers, it is particularly important to be able to detect cases of infection at a very early stage. The mandate of the city council to start a model project here, even without the support of the Free State, was only feasible for us because we also have very efficient laboratories as partners at our side in Jena".

Still no regular tests at Jena schools - promise of PCR pool testing in cases of infection

In Jena, the basic level according to the Thuringian early warning system still applies. This means: No tests at Jena schools.

Last week, the city of Jena had already tried to obtain a general decree from the Thuringian Ministry of Education that the tests would also be continued in basic level 1, but this was rejected by the Thuringian Ministry of Education.

Further talks this week between the crisis team of the city of Jena and the Ministry of Education did not lead to a solution that was sufficient from the point of view of the city of Jena.

Since the responsibility for all state schools lies with the Ministry of Education, the city of Jena, unlike in the daycare sector, cannot create any test offers in the facilities without the approval of the Free State.

Only for a monitoring by PCR pool test offers after confirmed infections in the schools a consent was signaled. For this the Jenaer crisis staff compiles straight a strategy, in order to be able to transfer the experiences with PCR pool tests in the Kitas as fast as possible also to schools concerned by infection cases.

Mayor Gerlitz commented: "We are bitterly disappointed that despite cases of infection in so many Jena schools, the Ministry of Education is sticking to its irresponsible Thuringian special path. It is nevertheless absurd that it will give after two days of exceeding the warning value now nevertheless no test offers starting from next Monday, only because the load value in the intensive care units fell today again under 3%. Parents expect low-threshold testing opportunities and an early detection system, especially for children who do not yet have the opportunity to be vaccinated, in order to ensure the greatest possible safety."

Briefly explained: How does a lollipop PCR pool test work?

Children suck on one swab provided for testing 2 times in the morning. The first swab goes into a test tube with those of the other children in the group, called the pool sample. The second swab goes into an individual tube. Everything is then transported to the laboratory. If the analysis of the pool sample results in a positive test result, the laboratory staff use the second, individual test tubes and carry out an individual PCR test on all members of the pool sample.