Education Minister Athena Michaelidou said on Monday that an updated protocol will be introduced in schools in the coming days, following a spate of bomb threats a few days ago.

Michaelidou was speaking after a meeting at the presidential palace with President Nikos Christodoulides and representatives from teaching union Oelmek.

Responding to a question on the management of the incident with the email sent to schools last Friday, Michaelidou congratulated the school principals, who she said largely acted with composure and followed the protocol, which was updated and announced a year ago.

“The protocol is not prepared by the education ministry,” the minister added, explaining that it is prepared in full cooperation with the police and civil defence.

“It was an opportunity – because it was a serious incident – for all of us to improve and modify our protocols where and when necessary,” she said.

Michaelidou said it was an opportunity to insist on systematic training of staff in schools.

“Mostly we are interested in acting better with the use of technology, informing parents and our partners.”

Earlier, police spokesman Christos Andreou said that bomb threats similar to that sent to schools in Cyprus last Friday were sent to schools in several other European countries.

Speaking to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), he said Europol had informed him that schools, shopping centres and other places in European countries had also been sent bomb threats last week.

On the email sent to Cypriot schools, he said its wording “was also used in other messages and was translated badly into Greek to be sent to Cyprus”.

He added that the police are now waiting for a response from Interpol to establish whether the sender of the email was from a specific country outside of Europe.

Meanwhile, the Limassol public kindergartens parents’ associations’ federation on Monday said they had identified “gaps” in the authorities’ handling of bomb threats, and thus called for “measures to be taken to deal with them”.

The federation added it was the first time “this type of mass threatening message with terrorist content” had been sent to the island’s schools and it “highlighted serious issues which should be brought to light”.

The measures they suggested included police patrols outside schools, the placement of security guards, and the monitoring of CCTV footage in schools.

“This bad-taste hoax could be described as a good exercise of our preparedness, but it highlighted gaps which in our view we will need to address seriously and effectively as times change,” it added.

Schools across the island received bomb threats by email last Friday, with some schools choosing to evacuate their children as a precaution.

The email was sent from a Russian domain email address, through it is perfectly possible that this could have been achieved without the sender having been located in Russia.