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Cyprus

Coronavirus: Parents of children with special needs demonstrate at ministry

Parents of children with special needs staged a protest in front of the ministry of education on Friday morning, complaining they were informed just hours before schools reopened on Thursday that their children should stay home.

Parents of children with special needs and of those who attend special schools were told to avoid taking the children back to school as they would need to be tested for Covid-19.

The issue sparked angry reactions not only from parents but also political parties, who accused the ministry of a lack of organisation and discrimination towards the children, and from the Ombudswoman Maria Stylianou-Lottides, who filed a special report on Thursday evening after receiving several complaints.

“The announcement of the ministry of education regarding the attendance of children with disabilities during the reopening of schools, shows that students with special needs, under the current conditions to gain access to primary and secondary education, will have to follow different terms and procedures,” the report said.

According to Lottides, the complaint filed to her said the procedures as laid out would be impossible to follow, with the result that children with special needs could not start school at the same time as other students.

“The risk of wasted time is in itself a discriminatory treatment of children,” Lottides said.

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