Zug, 15.03.2021

Administrative Court approves the corona tests in schools

No chance: The Zug Administrative Court has dismissed the appeals of five objectors, and only finds words of praise for the government's saliva test programme in a recently published judgment.

That was quick: On 16 February, the Zug Education Directorate announced that it would be carrying out a large-scale testing strategy in the cantonal middle schools and upper secondary schools in the fight against the Corona virus. A short time later, five objections were received, demanding a review of the legal basis for the saliva tests, due to which, in the event of a positive result, only a few pupils and no longer entire classes would have to be quarantined. The Zug Administrative Court presented its decision as early as 26 February: it has now been public for a few days.

The objectors complained in particular about the legal basis for the saliva tests. The Administrative Court (V 21/20) does not agree with this, and lets itself in no way be influenced by the claim of a "superficial" review of the laws and regulations.

Court president speaks out in favour of the test strategy
On the contrary, the President of the Administrative Court, Aldo Elsener, stated that it is unlikely that "the series of tests have had any harmful consequences on the psyche of the children and teachers concerned". On the contrary, the tests that were imposed make it possible to "maintain school operations as far as possible, despite the continuing rampant pandemic".

A series of tests have been carried out at Zug schools since the end of February
Photo: Stefan Kaiser (Menzingen 25 February 2021)

In addition, the tests should also be welcomed because they avoid "the more frequent imposition of quarantine measures and new school closures". The court president also concluded that young people who refuse the tests would not suffer any psychological pressure or even trauma. In its decision, the Administrative Court advises that a discussion with the test objectors should be sought. This could take place objectively and respectfully within the class. The use of coercion would not help here, but test objectors must be aware of the stricter quarantine rules that will apply to them.

The legal basis is sufficient, and the public interest prevails
The Administrative Court considers that the passages of the Epidemic Act (Article 40) are sufficient to continue the ordered and time-limited test regime.

After a summary examination, and taking into account the special situation prevailing in Switzerland, the Court concluded that the public interest in the immediate implementation of the decision of the Zug Government Council in secondary schools for eight weeks should be given greater weight than the suspensive effect of the objections. The interim decision of the Administrative Court is not yet final, as an appeal to the Federal Court (Bundesgericht) would be possible.