Education Minister Sorin Cimpeanu told broadcaster Digi24 on Thursday evening that COVID testing in schools had been "non-existent".
"The amount of testing in schools was negligible. Testing in schools was virtually non-existent," the minister said, adding that he insists on the possibility of performing non-invasive tests, especially on students who have specific symptoms or who are contacts of confirmed coronavirus cases.
Regarding the return to school in September, Cimpeanu said that he hopes for a normal opening of the school year.
"There are many elements that give us hope this will happen. First of all, vaccination appointments, reaching that critical mass that would result in a dramatic decrease in the risk of infection. But for any situation we must take this into account, we will propose that online teaching and examination be included in the tuition contracts, in order to have the acceptance for the online assessment and examination system right from the beginning of the school year, if be necessary. However, after we end this health crisis, education will move more than ever towards the digital component. Which is why we envisage from teacher training to consolidating internet access and availability of IT equipment," the Education Minister said.
Regarding the teachers' COVID-19 vaccination, he said that nearly half - 153,000 out of a total of 330,000 - have been immunized, yet noted that progress has been "very slow" for more than two weeks now.
Cimpeanu said that he has no explanation for this vaccination reluctance, and mentioned that parents say they would feel "much more comfortable" if they knew that the teaching staff got the vaccine, just as he received "an avalanche" of complaints against this idea.
"Vaccination is and must remain a voluntary act, it cannot be mandatory. (...) The only thing that helps us solve the situation is vaccination. That is why we advocate vaccination as much as we can, we still have nine counties where events of the 'Vaccination and testing for learning' campaign will be organised. We received hundreds of more or less official messages on the ministry's address, as well as on our personal addresses, summoning us to halt this campaign. We won't halt it," Cimpeanu said.