The education ministry on Friday announced that teaching with the physical presence of pupils in schools will continue, but a special committee will be monitoring the epidemiological situation in in each unit and decide accordingly which schools or classrooms should switch to online classes if necessary.

The ministry said that, after consultations with the health ministry and after taking into consideration the suggestions of the special committee that assessed the situation in schools, it has decided that pupils will continue to physically attend classes. This concerns both the public and private sectors.

The ministry advised parents and guardians to make sure children over six use a mask within the school grounds. This, it said, is a strict recommendation.

It also called on parents of primary education children to arrange so that their children undergo a rapid test before their return to school after the Easter holidays. Children can take the less invasive nasal rapid test, the ministry said.

All secondary education pupils too, need to present a negative rapid test certificate before returning to school after Easter.

The ministry also said that after the Easter holidays rapid tests will be carried out also on children going to the fourth, fifth and sixth grades in primary schools. The tests will not be obligatory, but parents and guardians are urged to give their consent. The testing schedule will be announced through the schools ahead of time, it said.

It also said that a monitoring committee consisting of specialised members including people from the tracing team, a representative of the advisory committee on coronavirus, and an observer on behalf of the education ministry, will be assessing the epidemiological picture in schools and deciding which units will have to switch to online classes.

The committee will convene next week to assess the suggestions on changes to the health protocol and tracing of cases in schools, as well as the special arrangements for the school-leaving exams.

Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou is to invite within the coming days parents’ associations to brief them of the epidemiological situation in schools and discuss with them the measures that will be taken.