Wastewater data to assess the situation in schools
As part of the ‘School Site Monitoring’ research project initiated by the Ministry of Education, wastewater data should be used as part of the schools’ early warning system. Based on data from 116 wastewater treatment plants across the country – in combination with current testing in all schools or 300 selected “guardian” schools with regular PCR tests – the infection status in schools should be assessed. The catchment area of the sampled wastewater treatment plants covers three quarters of schoolchildren and more than 3000 school sites, where wastewater from educational institutions is not specifically measured, but the entire environment in municipal wastewater treatment plants.
According to Ensam, Education Minister Heinz Wassmann (ÖVP) idea to prevent transmission during the holidays through extensive testing in schools could have worked. “It could have worked to some extent,” he says, referring to the data. It is not possible to determine general trends with regard to schools at the moment, however, this requires measurement results from several weeks.
Wastewater monitoring for schools is now scheduled to continue over a year as part of a research project. Scientists want to model how wastewater data fits into accidents in schools. The idea is to progress the individual tests by three to four days. However, the software can show its true strength when the infection rate recedes so far that far fewer individual tests can be performed.
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