Schools must return to onsite learning next month, but strict observance of health protocols is vital a member of the government’s scientific advisory committee said on Monday.
Zoe Dorothea Pana, lecturer in paediatrics at the European University, said that students returning to schools will be beneficial.
“The recommendations from WHO and ECDC emphasise that we need to keep schools open because the mental and educational impact on children from the continuous lockdowns is significant,” she said.
But she added that due to the Delta variant, there must be strict observance of health protocols, social distancing, and use of a mask to prevent the spread of the virus in schools.
“Regular check-ups, acceleration of vaccination coverage of the staff, especially those who come in contact with vulnerable children, and vaccination of children must be the priorities,” she added.
At the same time, the head of the confederation of secondary school parents said a meeting with the education minister to discuss the various problems created by the Covid pandemic must be held as soon as possible.
“It certainly worries us,” Charalambos Dionysiou told the Cyprus News Agency. “The new year will begin with problems due to the pandemic. There are different categories of students. The vaccinated, students who have been ill, and students who refuse to get the jab. Entrance in schools should be allowed only with a safepass.”
He said the ministry should take a stand over those who refuse to present a SafePass.
At the same time, there are still some questions about the positive cases in a classroom.
“For example, will the vaccinated and the recovered, be considered contacts or not? We are clearly in favour of vaccination, but the other point of view must also be respected” he added.
Apart from Covid, pupils also faced other issues.
Regarding exams, Dionysiou said the schools will follow the current legislation.
“Certainly, under the circumstances that seniors have gone through since March 2020, there could be differentiation or a suspension of the four-month exams policy,” he said.
However, this has not been possible for far and the ministry will enforce legislation passed in 2017.
“We must pressure the House education committee on this. The quality of the public school is at stake. We do not want it to become an examination centre all year round “.