COVID19: Face masks will be part of school uniform

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Cyprus students will be returning to school in early September after COVID-19 lockdown shut them out but they must wear a face mask in class.

Following a cabinet meeting at the Presidential resort in Troodos, Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou told reporters the new school year will kick off in September with all students physically attending classes, but with face coverings and social distancing.

“Our priority along with the provision of education is the observance of health protocols. The Ministry of Education…has already reviewed and updated the health protocols and made the necessary arrangements so that social distancing can be maintained,” said Prodromou.

The Minister explained that children can use reusable cloth masks but wearing one is not obligatory for children aged under 6.

Prodromou also said information leaflets on the protocols will be distributed to parents, students, and teachers.

He said his ministry will be conducting an extensive testing program on teachers and students.

Meanwhile, authorities say they are ready for any change in protocols brought on by a change in epidemiological resorting to remote learning.

“The Ministry of Education…is working on a comprehensive strategic plan for providing adequate internet connections for all schools and building a satisfactory internal wireless network.”

He noted that schools have an internet connection, “however, in some cases it must be upgraded in such a way that digital classrooms in each school can be operated when deemed necessary”.

The cabinet on Friday approved amendment regulations for Primary and Secondary Education to allow teaching with the use of digital media, remote learning.

Meanwhile, parents are not too happy with their children going back to school with a face mask.

Parents criticised the decision regarding the use of a mask by children in primary schools.

President of the confederation of primary education parent associations, Sotiris Christofi, stated to website Philenews, they consider it will be impossible for young children to use masks properly and for so many hours, in classrooms with high temperatures during the warmer months.