As things stand now, all primary and secondary school children will return to school as the new school year begins on 1 September, yet all preventive coronavirus recommendations will have to be observed, Education Minister Simona Kustec announced at a news conference at Brdo pri Kranju on Tuesday.
“But if the epidemiological situation worsens considerably in the next 14 days, we will have to take that into account,” the minister added.
She said the situation should be clearer after Thursday’s government session, at which Health Minister Tomaž Gantar will present the epidemiological situation.
Kustec expects that based on that assessment of the situation, “the best possible solutions” will be adopted.
“I myself will back all the decisions leading to a safe return to school for all primary and secondary school pupils.”
The development comes after four scenarios were prepared taking into account various Covid-19 situations and following calls for all children to return to classroom.
The Education Ministry-prepared models for the coming school year envisage fully opened and fully closed schools as the two extreme options.
The two middle options would see a combination of lessons in class and distance learning, with younger children being prioritised for the former.
At today’s conference of head teachers at Brdo pri Kranju, the ministry presented a special publication with the four possible models for 2020/21 with instructions of how to act when applying either of the models.
It is model B that envisages the return to classrooms for all primary and secondary school children while recommendations to prevent infections are simultaneously observed.
The space and staff restrictions imposed as part of model B are such as to still allow for schooling in classroom, Kustec believes.
Social distancing for pupils from different classes will have to be maintained, hands regularly washed and classrooms regularly aired.
Classes are recommended to be divided into smaller groups, if possible.
Face masks will not be obligatory in classroom for pupils, whereas teachers will have to wear them if an adequate distance could not be maintained.
Pupils will have their morning meal in the classroom, while lunch will be served in the dining hall with the maximum number of pupils allowed to be in it at a time to be set.
Parent-teacher meetings should be held remotely.
Kustec said that if some of the restrictions, which had been harmonised with all stakeholders, proved unrealistic, they would be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
National Education Institute director Vinko Logaj believes the recommendations are feasible, but he admitted that some would require much more communication and coordination.
Both urged all stakeholders, including parents and pupils, to help create the optimal conditions for the full return to school. Kustec said that only healthy children and teachers should come to school.