Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou announced additional testing in Polis Chrysochous schools on Monday, after most students remained at home over concerns about the high number of coronavirus cases on campus.
“We need to stay calm” Prodromou said. Additional testing will be carried out “so they feel that the situation is monitored more closely,” he added.
“Schools are safe spaces, we did not have a spread of infections within schools until now,” the minister added.
According to Evlogia Neophytou, 40 coronavirus cases were traced in the gymnasium, lyceum and technical school, which share the same building.
However, primary school children are also being kept home. Out of a total 330 students at the local primary school, about 86 students were in class on Monday, Neophytou said.
“We don’t want to close the schools,” Neophytou added. “We just want to keep our children safe at home, until they are all tested for the virus”.
Most teenagers who were contacts of known cases are still waiting for the health ministry to arrange a test, Neophytou said. “Only a handful were tested, after pressure from their parents”.
On Saturday, Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou responded to the impromptu decision to keep children at home as a precaution last week, saying no one was allowed to decide to shut down school apart from the ministry.
Children stayed at home after the municipality backed by the parents association and the school board said the high schools would be closed at the end of last week.
Some students have symptoms similar to coronavirus.
The majority of those who took the test privately were positive, Neophytou said. Laboratories in Polis charge €75 to €100 for a PCR test.
“In the last ten days, about 75 per cent of students were already staying home because they either tested positive or were contacts of confirmed cases,” she added.
Vice president of teachers’ union Oelmek Costas Hadjisavvas told the Cyprus Mail that only students who were within two metres of a positive case (those sitting behind, in front and next to the student) are deemed contacts, in addition to those reported by the person who tested positive.
“On some occasions it is deemed necessary to self-isolate the whole class and practice remote learning,” he said.