The results of the Safe School project conducted among students of classes II and III of Piedmontese lower secondary schools were made public.
The screening initiative, managed by the covid-school groups of the Prevention Departments of the Piedmont Region, is one of the few projects in Italy that actively promote voluntary screening of students.
Since children and young people are less susceptible to the clinical manifestations of COVID-19 than other population groups, but are vehicles of contagion and contribute to the spread of the disease, it is useful to identify school outbreaks early, although schools themselves are more subsidiaries of other places of youth gathering.
The screening, which started in January 2021, is based on the principle of rolling a quarter of the class every week. In this way, each participating student (membership is voluntary and revocable) receives a test once a month while the class is tested every week. If a positive case is identified, the class is quarantined and managed with the same procedures used by the current surveillance system.
The main objectives of screening are:
- monitoring of diffusion within the target population;
- the timely containment of the spread of the infection in the target population in integration with the tracing and isolation of the contacts of the cases in the school.
Since the implementation of screening and the timely application of preventive measures in a larger number of classrooms has an important potential in contrasting the spread of the infection and could help support face-to-face teaching in this age group, the Piedmont Region has decided to continue Safe School until the end of the school year.
If student participation increases in the second phase of the project, its informative value can be assessed more precisely for monitoring purposes.
>> Consult the report "Safe School: a screening project to contain the spread of the infection from Covid-19 among students of schools in the Piedmont Region" (in Italian, updated to April 9, 2021) by: Antonella Bena, Ilenia Eboli, Elena Farina, Milena Maule, Lorenzo Richiardi, Carlo Saugo, Teresa Spadea.
>> Read the article written by Antonella Bena and published on Scienza in Rete (15.05.2021) "Uno screening può aiutare a mantenere aperte le scuole? L'esperienza del Piemonte"