FAQ

Who can get a test?
  • All participating individuals who are healthy and/or do not have any symptoms specific to coronavirus.
  • Anybody wishing to participate must sign a declaration of consent. For minors, the declaration of consent must be signed by the legal guardian.
  • Pupils and school staff can be tested. 
Who cannot be tested?
  • People who have had Covid-19 during the past 6 months are not allowed to participate in testing.
  • People should not be tested until 6 months after they have been fully vaccinated. This applies from 15 days after the 2nd vaccination. This explicitly applies to repetitive testing and not to outbreak investigations or symptomatic individuals.
Does my child have to take a test?
  • No. Testing is voluntary. Parents are asked in advance and can exclude their child from participation. This also applies to the second (individual) test in the case of a positive pool result.  
How and how often are the tests done?
  • The tests are done in school.
  • They are done during the normal timetable.
  • Testing is done weekly.
  • The test procedure for younger children (nursery and class 1) is still being trialled. Tests can also be done at home if necessary.
Who does the sampling?
  • Sampling of pupils is done by a teacher.
  • The test procedure for younger children (nursery and class 1) is still being trialled. Tests can also be done at home if necessary. In that case, the parents take a sample from their child.
How is the test done?
  • The test procedure is based on a saliva sample and does NOT involve a nasopharyngeal swab. Children give their saliva samples as a class, together with the teacher. The children mix the saline solution with the saliva in their mouth for 10 seconds and then spit into the test tube.
When is the test done?
  • Tests in schools are always done in the morning before the long break. Children must leave at least 60 minutes between brushing their teeth and eating or drinking (apart from water) and taking the test, otherwise the test cannot be analysed correctly.
How long does testing take?
  • Testing takes about 10 minutes in total.
What happens to the samples after they have been taken?
  • The samples will be collected together in the school secretary’s office before being transported straight to the laboratory by courier.
  • No personal data is collected.
  • Each sample is assigned an anonymised barcode for the class.
How long does it take to get the results?
  • The results will be forwarded to the school management by 21.00 on the day of testing, at the latest.
How do we get the test result?
  • The school management is informed of the pool results (via SMS for a positive pool result, via email for all pools).
  • If the pool results are negative, parents will not be sent any information and lessons will continue as normal the following day.
  • If the pool result is positive, school management will send you an SMS or email in the evening.
  • The firm SRS medical will then contact you with information about an individual test, which will be done the next day.
What happens if a pool test is positive?
  • If a pool result is positive, parents will immediately be contacted by school management.
  • There will not be any lessons in the school on the day after the test.
  • All children and adults in this pool will be tested individually the next day (second saliva test depooling).
  • The firm SRS medical will provide you with information about the location / time for the individual test.
  • This second test is a saliva test too. It will be done in a mobile test centre in your district.
  • People with a negative individual test result may participate in lessons again the next day.
  • People who did not participate in the first test can participate in depooling in the case of a positive pool (this is desirable).
  • Important: Please bring your mobile phone and your child’s health insurance card to the individual test.
Does the class have to quarantine if a pool result is positive?
  • No, not in every case. If several people in the pool test positive, child and adolescent health services (KID) [Kinder- und Jugendgesundheitsdienst] decide whether the class has to go into quarantine.
  • However, all children must stay at home the next day and there will be no lessons.
Can the second saliva test (depooling) also be done by a paediatrician?
  • No, depooling is done in the designated test centre of the firm SRS medical.
My child isn’t participating in testing. Does s/he have to go into quarantine if the pool is positive?
  • Your child must also stay at home the day after the test.
  • If child and adolescent health services (KID) decide that a class has to go into quarantine, this also applies to untested children.
What happens if there is a positive depooling result (second test)?
  • The normal procedure for a positive test result will come into effect: The laboratory will inform the FOPH and the cantonal medical service of the test result. People who test positive must go into isolation immediately. The contact tracing service of the canton of residence will then contact the individual and issue the isolation order, as well as quarantining close contacts. Questions will also be asked about the possible location where the infection might have been acquired and potential seats of infection are traced. If a positive result is found with links to a school (pupils, teachers, other staff), the situation will be assessed by child and adolescent health services (KID) and quarantine will be ordered for a group if necessary.
Is my child allowed to go to school even if s/he isn’t taking part in testing?
  • Yes, your child will continue to go to school. S/he just won’t participate in testing.
Can I register my child for testing at a later date?
  • Yes. To do so, please contact the school management or class teacher and/or hand in the declaration of consent.
Can I withdraw my child from testing?
  • Yes. To do so, please contact the school management and/or the class teacher.
How long will weekly testing last?
  • The current plan is to continue testing until the end of 2021. This plan can be adapted depending on the strategy of the FOPH.
What should I do if my child’s class tested positive (positive pool) and I don’t have any childcare for my child?
  • You will have to look after your child at home. Because we don’t know which child is carrying the virus, we can’t offer any childcare.
Who pays for the costs of testing?
  • Repetitive testing is recommended and financed by the FOPH. All of the costs of depooling are paid by the health insurance organisation.
Is collecting saliva samples in the classroom safe?
  • Yes. Taking the samples will not cause the urge to sneeze or cough. No aerosols are dispersed. Hygiene regulations must be followed at all times.
  • The classroom is ventilated and all children wash their hands before testing.
Do the tests screen for mutations?
  • The saliva samples are tested for the presence of coronavirus fragments. Specification can be done as part of individual testing.
What is a saline solution?
  • It is a pure sodium-chloride solution that is completely safe for the people being tested. 
What is the health insurance number / health insurance card required for?
  • Pooling is directly funded by the Federal Government through the cantons. No health insurance data is required for this.
  • The Federal Government has also undertaken to pay for individual tests that are done in the case of a positive pool result. Settlement is done through the health insurance organisation. This pays all of the costs to the institution carrying out the tests (without affecting franchise or excess).
How is it ensured that tests are done correctly?
  • The saliva test is very easy to do and is the most reliable method because practically nothing can go wrong.
  • It is important that people taking part do not eat, drink or brush their teeth an hour before testing. This can affect the test result.
How much sense does testing make when not all children in the class take part?
  • Testing can pick up early infections even if not everyone takes part.
How is data protection guaranteed?
  • No personal data is passed on for pool testing in classes. Only the teacher doing the tests knows which children are taking part in testing and which aren’t. All of the parents of the class will be informed in the event of a positive pool result.
  • In the case of individual tests, the health insurance number will be recorded for settlement through the health insurance organisation and the parents’ mobile phone number will be recorded so that the result can be sent directly to them. Data protection agreements with the partner firms ensure that data protection is guaranteed at all times.