Coronavirus: Ministry to encourage primary pupils to wear facemasks

Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou on Tuesday sought parents’ backing for frequent coronavirus testing among younger school children to help contain an upsurge in positive cases.

Prodromou held a teleconference with the boards of the pancyprian confederations of parents’ associations of primary school children and of children attending public and community kindergartens.

Referring to the deterioration of the epidemiological situation, Prodromou said parents should be urged to consent to rapid tests for children in years four to six of primary school. Immediately after the Easter holidays, the ministry will be stepping up tests among this age group and would be recommending they wear face masks as part of a drive to ensure in-person teaching can continue, he added.

Rapid tests are mandatory for high school children, subject to parents’ consent. It is optional for years four to six of primary school.

He also referred to the proposals submitted by his ministry to a joint committee with the health ministry and the team of scientific advisors for a monitoring group charged with keeping track of the situation in schools. This group would then propose whether a school should shift to online from in-person teaching if it sees a large increase in Covid-19 cases.

The minister also briefed the associations about arrangements being made for pupils of the primary school in Phaneromeni in Nicosia within the walls that is to house the architecture school of the University of Cyprus to attend nearby schools as well as measures to upgrade other primary schools in old Nicosia.

The ministry has also taken delivery of 3,555 computers which it is distributing to all schools in moves to improve their technological resources, he said, adding that work is underway on 660 digital classrooms.

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