Officials in the north say schools will remain closed through the end of the academic year, as debate in the south rages on over the government’s decision to gradually open public schools.
According to Kathimerini Cyprus, Turkish Cypriot schools will continue to operate through distance education and online platforms, with officials in the north saying students would not be returning to class before June 30.
Turkish Cypriot officials announced that no formal education would take place until June 30, with local media reporting that students would complete the rest of the school year via distance education.
Kudret Ozersay, who is in charge of foreign matters in the north and second in command within the Turkish Cypriot administration, said school facilities would remain closed while clarifying additional decisions would be taken regarding high school seniors who need to prepare for college entrance exams.
College exam schedules and special arrangements for high school seniors are expected to be announced both in the north and south
In the south, Greek Cypriot public schools opened this week for high school seniors. The re-opening took place under special measures and health protocols following a controversial government decision that would see a gradual re-opening of all grade levels based on the administration’s evaluation of epidemiological data in the coming days and weeks.
But according to local media, many private schools in the south indicated they would not re-open, while some of them are re-opening only to help their high school seniors prepare for final or college entrance exams.
The decision to re-open public schools in the south divided public opinion, with student groups initially saying pupils would have preferred to continue with distance education online.
Parents and teachers groups, along with unions and political parties, expressed concern as to whether students were safe to go back to school, with some describing the move as a “great and unnecessary risk.”
Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou said 95% of public high school students returned to class on Monday, the first day of re-opening following the decision to lift measures imposed in March.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, students in lower grade levels are expected to go back to school on May 21, with Prodromou saying that apart from establishing health protocols, there was a need to spread awareness for each student’s responsibility and their behavior at schools.
College exam schedules and special arrangements for high school seniors are expected to be announced both north and south in the coming days.