After news that schools will be reopening doors for students of all levels on May 21 sparked debate and concern among the Cyprus public, Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou said Thursday that a round of 20,000 coronavirus tests will be launched, targeting school staff and students.
Prodromou described the round of tests are highly important in view of a safe resumption of the operation of schools islandwide.
The testing of “20,000 people from the total of 100,000 [school staff and students], means 1 in 5 will be subjected to coronavirus testing so that we can be certain that we’re moving into conditions that are safe health-wise,” Prodromou sad.
In announcing the island’s lockdown exit plan at the end of March, President Nicos Anastasiades had said that graduating students, being the priority group as they will need to secure their ticket into higher education, would be returning to school on May 11, and participating in classes in groups of 12.
On Wednesday, a government meeting agreed to allow the remainder of students, who have for the past several weeks been following school classes through e-learning, will be returning to school grounds on May 21, when Cyprus is expected to enter into the second phase of the exit plan.
According to the plan, students will be separated into two groups, with each group participating in school classes on a weekly rotation.
This will mean that group one will go to school for five consecutive school days, followed by the repetition of the classes during the next five days for group two. The rotation is expected to continue until schools close for the summer on June 26.
It was also agreed that only graduating students would be required to sit final exams, beginning on June 9, allowing them to move on to university, while students at all other levels of education would be automatically bumped up to the next level.
Prodromou said Wednesday that the return of students to schools will follow strict health and safety protocols, not only during class time and break times, but also in school buses.