A mandatory temperature check for students and teachers will be introduced in schools tomorrow, October 1st. The temperature limit is set by the national chief medical officer at 37.8 degrees Celsius- if the child’s temperature is above that, they will be sent home. Several people oppose the measure and have raised concerns, such as who will measure the temperature of hundreds of students, and how they would get home in the middle of the day if they are suspected to be infected.
Although the school year has started normally with in-person attendance despite the coronavirus epidemic, the virus is appearing in more and more schools around the country. However, there are differences in epidemiological measures across schools. While some schools close after one positive case, at others not even the affected class is quarantined.
As more and more schools close because of the coronavirus, from tomorrow on, both teachers and students will be required to have a temperature test when entering schools in all schools of the country in order to curb the spread of the virus among classes. They will be using manual digital devices to check them, but in schools with large numbers, it is even imaginable that they will install thermal imagers as well. However, if the device detects that someone has a fever when they enter, it does not automatically mean that the coronavirus has appeared at the school. In this case, they should be isolated, the doctor should be notified, and the suspicious cases tested.
There were many questions about this measure among parents, teachers, and students, but Jocó bácsi, a teacher popular in social media circles, also spoke on the matter. They are wondering, among other things, who will measure the temperature of hundreds, sometimes even a thousand students, where and how the students will wait for the temperature check, how to isolate suspicious cases until the test results, and how they would get home in the middle of the day in case of a positive result or when quarantine is ordered.
According to information first distributed, school guards would be the ones to test the students, but some parents claim that in their child’s school, teachers were asked to go in early and check students’ temperatures. In the Debrecen school district for example, most of the places will ask teachers and school staff, but where the school decides, students can also check their schoolmates.
Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller said at an online press conference on Monday regarding the introduction of the mandatory fever check, that non-contact thermometers have been procured for smaller institutions, while larger institutions will use thermal imagers to check the temperature of students and teachers.
She explained that if the child’s body temperature reaches 37.8 degrees Celsius, the measurement is repeated after a short rest, and if it still reaches the limit, the student is recommended to leave school, while a parent must also be notified. According to 24.hu, parents can accompany younger children during the temperature check so that if it turns out there is a problem, they can take the child home immediately.
Müller also noted that they set the temperature limit to 37.8 degrees Celsius because there are several natural situations where the body temperature rises even without disease, such as the hormonal cycle or exercise. She recalled that among the many relevant symptoms of the infection, fever is present in more than 90% of patients. If a child’s body temperature reaches 37.8 degrees Celsius after repeated testing, it may not be a coronavirus disease, but it is certain that they should be isolated.
Regarding the temperature measurement, the President of the Data Protection Office, Attila Péterfalvi, emphasized that the process should not be accompanied by the recording of data of the children, as it is considered sensitive. He added however, that “given today’s virus situation, the authority finds this acceptable, so there is no longer any argument that a fever measurement would be disproportionate to everyone.” He stressed that the purpose of a fever test can only be to prevent those who are suspected of being infected from entry into institutions, and not data collection.
featured photo: Lajos Soós/MTI