Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

Coronavirus: Distance learning is here to stay says minister

Tests started on younger pupils on Monday ahead of the reopening of primary schools and gymnasiums

Distance education although in its infancy must be continued Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou said on Monday, adding that a relevant law will soon be passed.

In a statement on the sidelines of his visit to the Archangelos lyceum in the morning, the minister said progress and change are always difficult.

“It is difficult for everyone to accept it. Distance learning, however, should not be stopped but we should take advantage of this opportunity, which educators and students have been granted.”

He offered assurances that personal data will be protected and that an agreement had been reached with the data protection commissioner.

“All over the world, where distance education and teleconferencing have been taking place for years, there are safeguards that we will follow,” he added.

Referring to his visit to the lyceum, he said he had monitored the diagnostic tests performed on children.

Other tests will be carried out in the coming days, covering all secondary and primary schools before they reopen on Thursday.

On Monday, 1,173 diagnostic tests were completed at schools in Cyprus.

On Sunday 497 children were sampled, without any of them testing positive.

Regarding the primary schools and gymnasiums which will open Thursday, Prodromou said the children will be told about the health protocols this week, and subjects will be taught from Monday, with two alternative groups of pupils attending schools.

All final year students as well as staff at the Apostolos Varnavas lyceum were being tested for the coronavirus on Monday.

According to the school’s parents association, the decision was taken after consultation with the education ministry on Sunday. Earlier on Sunday the association had called on parents to keep their children home from school until they had all been tested.

On Saturday a cleaner who had been working all week at the school tested positive for the virus.

Only some of one of the two groups of third year students have already been tested, while both groups came into contact with the cleaner.

Two positive cases were also detected in students of the Aradippou lyceum and because the town has already been identified as a hot spot for the virus, all school age students in the area will be tested.

Professor of microbiology and molecular virology at the University of Nicosia Medical School, Petros Karayiannis, who is a member of the health ministry’s advisory committee on coronavirus, said he was not overly concerned about the two positive cases in Aradippou.

This was an isolated incident in an area where we had a problem in the past, he noted.

“I hope that with the sampling that will be done from now until Thursday, when the other children go to school, nothing alarming will appear. Besides that, we need to learn to live with the virus, that is, every time a case is found in any environment, it does not mean that we have to close everything and say that we will go back after fifteen days. We need to implement isolation protocols by tracking contacts and life goes on,” he said.

 



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