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Cyprus Education

Coronavirus: Final decision on reopening of schools not yet possible


The academic school year is set to begin on September 7, but due to the volatility of the situation it remains unclear what form it will take.

Scientific team member Maria Koliou said on Wednesday three likely scenarios are currently being considered as regards the reopening of schools.

“One scenario is rotating and a few children in the classroom, the second is all students in the classroom at the same time with distancing measures… and the third is online learning,” she told the Cyprus News Agency on Wednesday.

The precise protocols will be decided upon towards the end of August, the assistant professor of paediatrics and infectious diseases at the University of Cyprus said.

The timeframe is likely to be tight, with the possibility of just a week between a decision being made and teachers implementing the policy.

It appears, however, that officials are preparing plans for each scenario as the nature of the pandemic is not knowing what the situation may be a week from now.

For its part, the health ministry said that a committee has been set up to exclusively prepare the guidelines and help reach a decision as regards schools.

The ministry’s announcement on Wednesday stated that officials from the committee are set to meet with the education ministry next Monday – with the goal of implementing a final decision.

The directorate of primary schools issued a statement on Wednesday, urging caution and cooperation between members to ensure that the needs of students are met in a safe manner.

“Taking into account that every day the epidemiological picture of the country is different, the way that schools operate is likely to be affected,” the announcement read.

“The understanding and cooperation of everyone is taken as a given, considering the unprecedented situation which we are facing.”

Schools have been largely closed in March, with teaching, student and parent unions urging caution over a return to schools in person.

And yet, the road to moving lessons online proved to be bumpy with delays and privacy concerns.

Nations worldwide are struggling with the question over how to open schools safely, while also allowing parents greater autonomy to return to work and their usual schedules.

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