COVID19: Gymnasium students return, Limassol primary schools reopen

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More than 23,000 gymnasium students and Limassol elementary school children returned to class on Friday after the government eased lockdown rules.

Gymnasium (middle school) students returned to the classroom after nearly four months since being sent home before Christmas for the seasonal holidays.

They are the last of school students to return after their fellow Lyceum, and technical students had gradually returned to school on 8 February.

With daily new COVID-19 cases touching 1,000 two days before the year ended, a second national lockdown was imposed on 10 January, before students had the chance to return to their classrooms.

Limassol elementary schools were shut earlier in March after many clusters were found among students and teachers in the island’s COVID-19 hotspot.

Based on a Cabinet decision, gymnasium students have to present a negative rapid antigen test before entering schools.

Authorities have introduced a less invasive nasal test for students, with the swab just entering two centimetres into the nostril, causing less discomfort.

The Education Ministry called on parents and guardians to ensure that pupils take the test, either at sampling points operating free of charge or at their own expense at approved private laboratories.

From Monday, April 5, mobile units will also operate at gymnasiums, as students will have to undergo weekly tests.

The ministry is also drafting a programme for testing at elementary schools, where 25% of students in the final two years will also have to undergo weekly tests.