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Coronavirus: All high school students to take weekly tests, gymnasium reopening delayed (updated)

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The reopening of gymnasia was put off for a week on Sunday, the ministry of education announced, meaning children will not return to the classroom until March 16. At the same time, all students at lyceum and technical schools will have to provide a clear rapid test each week, starting March 8.

The findings arising from the daily examination of the health situation, as it is formed with the reactivation of the population and the gradual lifting of restrictive measures, present the need for the implementation of more intensive health protection measures, the ministry said in a statement.

After discussions with the ministry of health, the ministry of education said that for as long as is considered necessary all children in high school will have to present a clear test each week.

“The aim is, since the teachers and the rest of the school staff are already undergoing periodic examination, to better shield the school and to reduce to a minimum the possibility of transmission of the virus within school, but also its transmission to families,” the ministry said.

The government contract tracing team said on Sunday that of the 13 clusters discovered from February 20 to 26 five of them refer to school units, one in Nicosia and four in Limassol.

In education in the same period, 56 cases were found among teachers, 109 primary school students, 25 lyceum students across the island which affected 43 primary schools, 19 lyceums, 15 private schools (all levels) and nine nurseries.

The ministry urged all parents of children in lyceums and technical schools to give their permission so their children can get tested this week in one of the rapid test centres set up to deal with the general population.

From Monday March 8, all children will have to have a negative test in order to go to school and this will be repeated on a weekly basis. Mobile testing units might be sent to some schools.

At the same time, the ministry announced the reopening of gymnasiums will be delayed until March 16.

These children will also have to have had a test in order to return to school, and must repeat it on a weekly basis.

The ministry underlined these rules are in place for both public and private schools.

Children in primary school should be encouraged to wear a mask during the school day, the ministry said, especially older age groups.

Any child that does not have a negative test or who cannot attend school for any other reason will follow online learning.

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