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Coronavirus: Parents say measures create two-tier school system

The move of lyceums and technical schools to distance learning in Limassol and Paphos violates their rights and effectively creates two categories of students in Cyprus, the confederation of secondary school parents said on Thursday.

To curb the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, as part of measures announced on Wednesday evening, the government said the schools must close as of Monday with lessons moving online. Nurseries, primary and gymnasium schools will remain open.

“This is a great injustice,” the confederation said. “We understand that in this period strict measures are needed to safeguard everyone’s health, but we are struggling to understand the logic behind them.

“Students in Limassol and Paphos will have to sit the same Pancyprian final exams as the students of other districts, who, however, were able to physically attend their classes.”

The group also demanded an explanation from the ministry and its epidemiological team over why gymnasiums were allowed to stay open.

It said distance learning has proven unable to replace the physical presence of students in classrooms and when it was imposed during the Spring lockdown forced many families to hire tutors for extra lessons for their children at a time when many households are already struggling financially.

“Based on what we have learnt from the education ministry, many schools still don’t have the necessary equipment to carry out distance learning and, as a result, many students are being left behind in their education this year, they said.

“We will not allow this to happen any further and we are calling the health ministry and the epidemiological team to change the measures announced on Wednesday and allow lyceum students to physically return to their classrooms.”

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