Jakarta – Sixty teachers have tested positive for the coronavirus out of 2,600 teachers who took part a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing program by the local COVID-19 task force in Badung, Bali. The swab tests were provided as part of the regency's plan to reopen schools in January 2021.
"The  teachers who took the swab tests provided by the Health Agency have been confirmed [positive for COVID-19]," I Made Mandi, the acting head of the Badung Education, Youth and Sports Agency said on Tuesday, as quoted by kompas.com. The teachers who had returned positive test results had been isolated and were receiving treatment, added Mandi.
He said the agency would be testing a total of 6,248 teachers and 1,502 other staff at schools in the regency.
Badung is preparing to reopen all schools in the regency come January, including by running a COVID-19 testing program for teachers, checking the implementation of appropriate health and safety procedures at schools, human resource training and drafting standard operating procedures for in-class teaching.
All measures required reporting to the regent, who also heads the Badung COVID-19 task force, for further discussions on the regency's school reopening plan.
"We are also coordinating with the Badung Disaster Mitigation Agency, the Public Order Agency and the Health Agency. When everything is feasible, we will report it to the regent [...] for approval," said Mandi.
On Monday, Bali recorded 135 new cases, 118 recovered cases and one COVID-19 death. The island province has a cumulative tally of 16,463 confirmed cases, with 14,967 recovered cases (90.91 percent) and 486 fatalities (2.95 percent).
Meanwhile, in Salatiga, Central Java, 20 teachers tested positive for the disease on Friday.
Sixteen teachers are from one school while the remaining four are from different schools, and the Salatiga Education Agency has decided to impose a temporary lockdown on all five schools from Dec. 18 to Dec. 31.
The head of the Education Agency, Yuni Ambarwati, said that because the schools had closed on Friday for the year-end holiday break, she had instructed that the teachers who had contracted the virus be isolated or be provided with the necessary treatment.
"And those who think that they may have had close contact with [these teachers] are encouraged to visit a health facility and get checked, regardless of whether they are showing symptoms or not," said Yuni.
As regards the latest confirmed cases among teachers, Salatiga Mayor Yuliyanto said the city administration would reevaluate its plan to resume in-class teaching in January.
"We may reopen the schools in stages after conducting rigorous assessment," said the mayor.
Earlier this month, Salatiga Health Agency head Siti Zuraida said that at least 14 employees at SMAN 2 Salatiga senior high school had contracted COVID-19. (nkn)