Poed, the primary school teachers’ union, will be writing to the health ministry asking for clarifications on the “test to stay” programme and suggesting changes to protocols at schools, union president Myria Vassiliou said on Thursday.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency on Thursday, Vassiliou said she was informed during a meeting with healthy ministry officials on Tuesday of the government’s intention to implement the “test to stay” programme to teachers, as well as to kindergarten pupils.

A decision to this effect was taken by cabinet on Wednesday. Teachers who are considered contacts of positive cases and choose not to participate in the programme but to self-isolate will have days deducted from their leave.

“Poed was informed about the decision, but no details were provided to us,” she said.

“During the next meeting, we will put forward a motion to rethink the decision and for all health protocols to be modified, so that schools can return to pre-Covid times.”

Vassiliou added that the organisation will ask the health ministry to bring back excursions for students, adding that for two years they have been deprived of an important educational tool.

“The health ministry made it clear to us that the aim is to get back to normal, but their specific suggestions regarding the changes in the protocols will only be sent to us in the next few days.

“Looking at the rates of positive cases in schools, it is evident that they are safe environments, mainly thanks to the tremendous efforts on the part of the teachers to adhere to the protocols.”

Moreover, Vassiliou said that Poed has already drafted proposal regarding the evaluation of the teachers by the education ministry, specifying the vital role they play in the students’ education.

“This is a very important subject for us,” she said. “We have for long pushed to be more included in dialogue regarding the evaluations of teachers because we feel that the current system needs improvement and change in order to meet the needs of a modern education environment.”