Bulgaria has amended its rules for returning school pupils to in-person classes, adding a provision that if at least half the pupils have a green certificate, they can return to class without being tested for Covid-19.
The green certificate includes those for vaccination, having undergone Covid-19, having antibodies or a negative PCR or antigen test, the Health Ministry said. Bulgaria allows vaccination against Covid-19 for those older than 12.
The remaining pupils will remain on distance learning until Covid-19 tests are provided to enable testing twice a week.
The amended rules are included in guidelines approved in a joint order by caretaker Health Minister Stoicho Katsarov and caretaker Education Minister Nikolai Denkov on November 24.
The Health Ministry said that the new rules allow private schools to purchase tests for pupils in the fifth to 12th grades without waiting for deliveries from the state.
The tests must meet the requirements of the Health Ministry that apply to those purchased by the state.
The ministry said that this does not cancel the Education Ministry’s commitment to provide private schools with free tests after receiving them from the Health Ministry.
The statement said that the Education Ministry had proposed the changes to speed up the return to school of as many pupils as possible, in spite of the insufficient number of tests received so far.
The Health Ministry said that so far, 6.84 per cent of school pupils in Bulgaria had been vaccinated, while the number of pupils from the fifth to 12th grades who were ill with Covid-19 was a little more than 19 000.
The ministry said that regional departments of education had been informed about the amended rules.
Those schools that meet the conditions are expected to at least partially resume in-person classes for fifth to 12th-grade pupils as of November 29, the statement said.
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