The school year is progressing smoothly but all coronavirus measures must be adhered to to keep the schools open, Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou said on Sunday.
“And that is very important as we all recognise that what is important is to study with a physical presence,” he said in an interview with the Cyprus News Agency.
He said the ministry remains on the alert as the pandemic is not over. “Care is needed and we are applying an appropriate protocol. We must preserve this advantage of being present in schools”.
He added that Cyprus is standing up well to the challenge.
Things are better organised now than they were before, he said. “And let’s face it, no-one was ready for the pandemic”.
He said schools have been shown to be healthy, safe places but “we must remain very careful and implement all the basic rules”.
If schools need to close again, he said, they would be ready to move to distance learning.
As part of the EU’s recovery and rehabilitation fund, a total of 6,600 digital classrooms will be developed, Prodromou said, and more than €10 million has been earmarked for this purpose.
On another matter, he said that language issues are being dealt with especially for foreign children. This is important, he added, as one fifth of children in primary schools do not have two Cypriot parents. He said this has been helped by employing more assistants in pre schools in addition to other measures.
With a budget of €50 million for construction, Prodromou said two issues remain for the ministry: ventilation of classrooms especially with the winter coming and the increased use of air conditioners.
He said ways to ventilate classrooms are being considered that mean windows and doors do not have to be left open all the time.
As far as air conditioning in classrooms is concerned, he said a study has already been made and announcements are expected in the coming days.