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Coronavirus: No indication when remaining children will be allowed back to school

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There is no indication as to when secondary school pupils excluded from Monday’s reopening will be able to return to the classroom, the secondary school teachers’ unions Oelmek and Oltek said on Tuesday.

On Monday, primary school pupils and those in the final year of secondary returned to school after over a month online, while those in other grades are still following classes from home.

Oelmek head Themis Polyviou told the Cyprus News Agency that even though Monday went according to plan, it is too early to know when the remaining secondary school pupils will be able to return. “We have had no indication whatsoever on the matter,” he said.

Polyviou reported that 63 per cent of returning pupils were tested, adding that rapid testing units will be stationed at schools from Wednesday and expressing the hope that more will get tested as a result.

At the same time, he observed that many pupils continue to ignore the protocols enforced at schools by not socially distancing and wearing their masks incorrectly.

“I hope they realise that they have to follow the measures so that this doesn’t backfire,” he added, “because schools cannot possibly close again”.

Meanwhile, Oltek secretary general Lenos Loizou expressed excitement about the return of final year pupils to technical schools, saying that graduates will now be able to properly prepare for their Pancyprian exams in the correct environment, among their classmates and teachers.

Loizou also said he was impressed with how many were rapid tested and how seriously pupils and their parents have taken the pandemic.

According to CNA’s sources, the advisory committee on coronavirus discussed the possibility of allowing all grades to return to school but was missing a timeframe.

For the next two weeks, the team will monitor the results of Monday’s reopening and if numbers remain stable, they will consider it.

The same source told the CNA that this will likely happen in the third week of February, equating to the fourth week of measure relaxations.

The unions are due to attend a meeting with education minister Prodromos Prodromou to discuss what comes next.

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