Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou drew criticism and humour on social media this week after he suggested young children in school could use throw blankets while doors and windows remained open for ventilation due to the pandemic.
According to local media, Prodromou attended a House hearing committee where he addressed health protocols in schools, including instructions to keep windows open for ventilation purposes.
But the minister was called upon to respond to concerns that leaving windows open would introduce colder temperatures during winter.
'So there are some thoughts, some suggestions, and I think it is something we can look into and see whether it is feasible, at least for younger children, to provide them with small throw blankets'
“It is a basic rule that the spaces must be ventilated, especially schools where we put kids in a classroom,” Prodromou said, while noting that heating systems would not be as effective when doors and windows also remained open.
“So there are some thoughts, some suggestions, and I think it is something we can look into and see whether it is feasible, at least for younger children, to find a way to provide them with heating solutions, specifically small throw blankets,” the minister said.
But educator Themis Polyviou, who is the president of OELMEK teachers union, slammed the proposal saying rain water would easily enter the classroom in some schools if windows were left open.
“We know how kids behave. Wouldn’t one child grab the blanket from another, wouldn’t there all kinds of fuss in the classroom?” Polyviou asked.
No heat recovery ventilation in schools
Ventilation is required under health protocols to combat the spread of the coronavirus in closed spaces.
But public schools in the Republic of Cyprus are not equipped with a heat recovery ventilation system, making the use of open doors and windows necessary to get fresh air during winter time.
The blanket proposal also drew funny responses on social media, including one user posting a funny photo of herself at work with a blanket over her head, wearing a face covering, and holding a hand sanitizer, writing “ready to show support.”