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Coronavirus: Teachers of one union to strike on Thursday morning

teachers protesting in nicosia recently
Teachers protesting in Nicosia recently

The teachers’ branch of Isotita (Equality) union on Saturday announced they will strike on Thursday morning against the coronavirus measures implemented in schools.

“Our goal is for schools to be places of joy and learning, without discrimination and for the cultivation of all forms of human communication and cooperation,” the association said announcing their members will strike between 7.30 to 9.30am on December 16.

Citing a “suffocating atmosphere” in schools, Isotita said human rights are being “violated after the continuous arbitrary even though seemingly lawful decisions of the education ministry”.

Listing the reasons behind their decision to strike, they said that teachers do not wish to check their students for a SafePass and not to have their own Safepasses checked by the school’s administration.

According to the new restrictions, children as young as six must present a weekly negative coronavirus test, while vaccinations for children aged 5 to 11 is expected to be available before the end of the month.

In addition, adults and children aged 12 and older who are not vaccinated or have recovered from the virus in the last six months must present a negative 48-hour coronavirus test instead of a 72-hour test for a SafePass. This group will also be banned from stadiums, theatres, cinemas, restaurants, cafés, bars and nightclubs as of December 15.

Both school staff and students must wear a face mask.

Teachers slammed the decision to reduce the time of the validity of the tests saying it “lacks documentation, creates practical problems in the work and personal life of teachers and makes their daily life unbearable”.

They also said face masks negatively affects communication between the teacher and students and their use should not be mandatory.

“Teachers do not want to contribute in any way to discrimination against children, but they are forced to do so as they have instructions such as children who do not wear a mask to be transferred to another room and are effectively deprived of teaching,” the union said.

There is also discrimination between vaccinated and unvaccinated teachers, Isotita said, since only those who have not received an anti-coronavirus jab must self-isolate if they are close contacts of a confirmed case.

The teachers’ work stoppage follows parents’ protests against the new measures in schools, put in place to prevent the spread of the virus as cases surge in schools.

Earlier this week, government experts warned over a high rate of transmission within schools while around 100 students at a Limassol technical school were self-isolating as close contacts following a school trip abroad.

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