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Coronavirus: Primary and nursery teachers to stage one-hour work stoppage Monday

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Primary and nursery schoolteachers will stage a one-hour work stoppage on Monday to protest the way the pandemic is being handled at schools, teachers’ union Poed said on Thursday.

As a first measure, union members will stage a work stoppage lasting between 7.30 and 8.25 on Monday morning.

Poed vice-chair Apostolos Skouroupatis told the Cyprus News Agency that during a meeting, the union deemed the education ministry’s actions in the past 15 days unsatisfactory in terms of sticking to cabinet decisions on Covid management and the union’s three core demands.

“What concerns us is ensuring health and safety measures for our schools, to protect pupils, teachers and staff,” Skouroupatis said.

The first of the union’s demands is for an adequate and swift process for replacing absent teachers to support the smooth running of school units and ensure school safety, as “teacher absences create additional safety issues”.

The second is substantial coronavirus measures for nursery schools and special schools. The vice-chair emphasised that unlike primary and secondary schools, nursery schools have no measures in place to prevent the spread of the virus.

The union’s third demand is for the installation of ventilation systems in classrooms.

“We’re not asking for this to happen immediately, we just want a timeframe, based on which we’ll be able to keep classrooms alive in the future, facing new potential waves and infections”.

Lastly he said that school boards need more support as they have now found themselves responsible for enforcing any government measures that arise.

These are not trade union demands, he said. “We are asking for things that will stay in our schools long term”.

Skouroupatis said that the union will hold a press conference at 11.30 on Friday morning on the issue, and will re-evaluate the situation in 15 days, “so we can see real and substantial measures that will satisfy us”.

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