A new procedure for handling coronavirus contacts is being discussed, “so that we can more effectively support the operation of schools,” Minister of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth Prodromos Prodromou said after a meeting Thursday with the President. and members of the leadership of the Pancyprian Confederation of Federations of Parents' Associations of Primary Schools, under its new composition.
“We are currently in consultation and cooperation with the Ministry of Health to see based on their own advice how we will implement it better,” he said, adding that this is something that will help us, not only for the needs of replacements. but mainly for the main purpose that the children are to receive the best possible education, and the best possible education is to be in school, without risking the collective health or the health of anyone “.
The Minister informed the Confederation about the procedures and the effort made by the Ministry of Education these days with the specific conditions, due to the many absences of teachers. Mr. Prodromou said that he explained to the organized parents of primary education “in what ways we have managed so far and we intend to continue to make up for any absences, so that the children have teachers in schools”.
“Indeed, with the great efforts – both of the school administrations and the teachers – we succeed with replacements made by the Committee of Education Service, with replacements that are foreseen to be made through the existing teachers in the schools, but also with the utilization, especially in “Primary Education, other resources that we have from parallel programs of the Ministry of Education, to replace the teachers who are absent”, he underlined.
He also stated that the process of diagnostics has started in schools and that in Primary Education, diagnostics should be performed every 72 hours, ie twice a week.
“This is how we create a safety shield, because the goal remains double to keep the schools open, but also to provide the health insurance that we should not sacrifice in any way,” he noted.
He also said that he informed the parents that “these days, in collaboration with the team of the University with which the Pedagogical Institute collaborates, the preparation for the conduct of the pan-Cypriot research is being completed in order to record the psycho-emotional factors more consistently and accurately”, ie , as he explained, “how children in schools have been affected by the pandemic”.
In addition, the Minister of Education said that he had heard from the parents “some remarks and some suggestions”, stating that the parents “are particularly concerned about the education of children who stay away from schools”.
He added that “we must make full use of the possibilities that have been developed with digital media, in order to cover the children who are absent”.
Asked about the changes that will be made in the protocol that exists in schools based on yesterday's decisions of the Council of Ministers, Mr. Prodromou said that the suggestion is that “based on the experience so far and the procedures for dealing with the pandemic, we will children who are in close contact should be treated differently. “
After the established rapid diagnostic tests, according to Mr. Prodromou, “children who are characterized as contact, but have a negative indication, will continue to attend, provided that they take an additional rapid antigen detection test at the sampling points, except schools “.
He clarified that, in no case does it mean that the children will do the test alone at this age.
“If we treat the procedures, the close contacts, the restriction and the diagnoses in a different way, we can gain some things in terms of the operation of the schools,” he underlined.
Asked about the strike measures taken by POED, the Minister of Education said that “since the beginning of the school year, our common declared goal, both with POED and with parents and everyone, is that we want open and safe schools.” , adding that “a strike would mean a closed school”, and “I do not think there is such an issue”.
Regarding the four-month exams, the Minister of Education said that “exams start tomorrow, as they did in December 2019, as they did in May 2020, depending on the prevailing conditions of the pandemic” and added that if it were not for the pandemic ” we had two two-month exams in 2019-20, two in 2020-21 and this year we will have two four-month exams in High School “.
“At the moment, we can start without any problems in the first four months of Lyceums and Technical Schools, something that will happen tomorrow”, he said and added that in the next period – after the first lesson that is common for all – the presence of children in Lyceums and Technical Schools, since it will be an examination period, will be much more sparse, something that happens to help us in the management of the pandemic “.