COVID19: Anti-maskers told ‘send your kids to school’

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Parents keeping their kids home from primary school in protest against COVID-19 measures could face legal action as authorities evoke the law on mandatory education for children under 15.

The Education Ministry will get tough with parents opposed to the mask-wearing and school testing mandate.

Phileleftheros daily said the ministry is in contact with the police, ready to inform them of children who have been absent from school without justification in the past weeks.

The row between some parents and the ministry has spilt over into its third week after the government decided to impose a mask mandate on all school children starting from six and weekly testing.

Previously only high school students were obliged to wear a mask to school.

Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou on Tuesday criticised parents for “depriving their children of an education” and said they had a legal obligation to ensure they attend class.

However, the Education Ministry has said it is just a minority of parents who are not sending their kids to school.

Prodromou said that “under 2% of the 47,232 primary school children were absent from school because of the mandates”.

He also said that teachers faced dozens of children sent to school without a face mask.

Teaching staff are instructed not to allow children in classrooms without a mask.

Some parents use this as an argument, saying they are sending their children to school, but the school refuses to accept them.

Prodromou said it was “sad” that parents are depriving their children of education because they disagree on the use of masks and coronavirus tests.

He stated the law requires the police to be notified whenever a child is absent for a certain amount of time.

The minister urged protesting parents to “accept the conditions we’re all facing, no one wants to wear a mask, but it is a protective measure – especially for the children at school and are not vaccinated”.

“We are fighting a global pandemic.

“Our only defence is the measures dictated by medical professionals such as vaccines and social distancing regulations.”

Following the government’s decision to introduce a mask and testing mandate at schools, parents took to the streets; several schools were vandalised and attacked.

The most serious was a bomb blast at a Limassol primary school in the early hours.