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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Poland reopens schools for young children

18.01.2021 10:30
Poland on Monday reopened schools for young children amid signs of a letup in the spread of the coronavirus.
Photo:
Photo: PAP/Tytus Żmijewski

Children in grades 1 to 3 of elementary education were allowed to return to normal classes after a prolonged period of distance learning.

Meanwhile, a host of other restrictions on public life, including the closure of hotels, ski slopes and many retail outlets, will remain in place until at least January 31, officials have announced as the pandemic persists.

The education ministry has rolled out a set of special guidelines for schools to follow in the face of the pandemic. These include compulsory hand washing and frequent airing of classrooms.

Schools are expected to minimize physical contact with visitors from the outside.

Photo: PAP/Tytus Żmijewski Photo: PAP/Tytus Żmijewski

Poland's Education Minister Przemysław Czarnek has said that, under sanitary rules for schools, lessons will be held in one classroom for each group, with breaks for different classes held at different times.

Deputy Education Minister Dariusz Piontkowski told public broadcaster Polish Radio that schools could be forced to revert to remote teaching if a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic reached Poland.

COVID-19 tests for teachers

The country last week tested almost 134,000 teachers and school staff for COVID-19 ahead of the planned return to in-person classes in the early grades of elementary education.

A total of 2,422 of these tests, or 2 percent, came back positive, the education ministry announced on Sunday.

A two-week school winter break ended across the country on Sunday.

After a brief period of being open to students, schools and universities throughout the country last fall switched to distance learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has now killed more than 33,000 people nationwide.

Teachers are among priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination as the country rolls out its inoculation effort. Frontline healthcare workers are first in line for the shots, followed by nursing home residents and staff.

Vaccinations at nursing homes were set to begin on Monday.

Poland on Sunday reported 6,055 new coronavirus infections and 142 more deaths, bringing its total number of cases to 1,435,582 and fatalities to 33,355.

(gs/pk)

Source: IAR, TVP Info