Branislav Gröhling, Source: Ministry of Education, Slovakia

Slovakia braces for school reopening

Slovakia braces for school reopening

The Ministry of Education has presented a detailed plan on how it will approach the new school year

With the start of the next school year just around the corner, the Slovakian Ministry of Education has unveiled its plans on how it will deal with potential outbreaks in educational establishments until the end of the pandemic. The ministry’s primary goal is to not allow for all schools in the country to shut down simultaneously. Thus, it will be employing a case-by-case approach that will allow for individual judgements that take into account current happenings.

Three phases of alert

At a press conference earlier last week, Minister of Education Branislav Gröhling unveiled the three colour-coded phases of alert that will be used in all schools, kindergartens and universities until the end of the pandemic.

The green phase means that the school has no suspicions and no active cases of COVID-19 amid its students or staff. The orange phase signifies that the school has a reason to suspect that someone might be sick. Finally, the red phase contains a list of measures that must immediately be implemented should a case among children or staff be confirmed in an educational establishment.

"Schools in the green phase will operate in standard mode. Those suspected of having active cases will have to comply with stricter hygiene measures. Pupils from schools with a red label will be educated at a distance," explained Gröhling.

He further added that "Regional public health authorities will monitor outbreaks and decide on measures in this area. Strict measures will apply to schools in high-risk areas. However, we do not want to close schools across the board. In three months, in order to minimize the infection, we closed schools and went through distance learning. I think that parents, students and teachers agree that this period was enough, and it is time to return to schools in the most normal mode possible.”

Further measures announced by the Ministry of Education include a mandate for all schools to ensure hand disinfection upon entry in their premises, the wearing of masks inside the schools during the first two weeks of the school year and a recommendation for constant disinfection and ventilation of classrooms.

Schools will also have to prepare isolation rooms to house students or members of the staff should they display symptoms of COVID-19 and will also have to provide soap and disinfectant within their bathrooms.



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