The education ministry is stepping up measures to keep a lid on coronavirus infections among pupils, with special emphasis on extra-curricular activities, social distancing during break time and school busing.
Minister Prodromos Prodromou said he was appealing to parents to urge their children to restrict or avoid out of school activities, particularly team sports, for the time being.
He was speaking at a press conference about Thursday’s meeting with the consultative committee on the implementation of health protocols at the schools and following a dramatic spike in the number of coronavirus cases in Cyprus the past few days.
These surged to above 100 on Thursday for the first time since the start of the outbreak in March.
Prodromou spoke of ‘concern’ over the deterioration in health data. Even though there has been no reported transmission at schools, there was a need to remain on high alert and to give special attention to out of school activities, particularly sports.
Implementation of health protocols at schools must be closely monitored, with special attention given to social distancing at break time. “We recognise the difficulties faced by schools and teachers but we must ask them once again to make continuous effort for this purpose,” he said. A supervision mechanism regarding compliance with protocols is to be activated at schools.
Consultations are also underway with the transport ministry for additional buses where possible so as to increase capacity and reduce crowding. The cost will be covered by the government.
Schools will also set up a support mechanism to help the health ministry’s contact tracers. Moreover, seminars on the health protocols will be held for school management, both public and private.
And a meeting will be held with the Cyprus Sports Association to set in motion a supervision mechanism of sport facilities, particularly where there are team sports.