COVID19: Cyprus schools not opening anytime soon

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Teacher unions don’t see school children returning to class this term, apart from final year students completing their school life when allowed back from 11 May.

Head of the primary school teachers union (POED) Filios Fylaktou said he does not expect preschool and elementary school students returning to classrooms anytime in May.

He told ANT1 TV that the most likely COVID-19 scenario was for children attending the fifth and sixth year at primary school to return sometime in June.

Phylaktou made his comments just after a teleconference with Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou.

“What I can say with certainty is that clearly the reopening of primary schools and pre-schools will not take place during the second stage of relaxing restrictive measures”.

Phylaktou sees that only students from the final two years of primary school will be returning, and “only for a few days”.

He believes the Ministry of Education is clearly focused on facilitating the return of final year students in secondary education.

Meanwhile, secondary education teacher union OELMEK expressed its disappointment “over the fact that, as we enter May, the Education Ministry has yet to present a clear roadmap on how the school year is to be completed”.

In a statement, OELMEK said that it is also deeply concerned over the government’s decision to have final year students return to classrooms on 11 May.

OELMEK considers “this decision, to be implemented just one week after lifting the first set of restrictive measures and before the evaluation of its results, entails serious risks for the health of students and people employed at schools”.

The union said that sending children too early to school could endanger the examination process for entry to Cyprus and Greek universities and the future of graduates.

“We honestly wonder how it is possible that while the Health Ministry’s decrees for other workplaces strictly state that only one person is allowed for every 8 square metres, for schools this provision will not apply,” said then OELMEK statement.