By: Sara Kovač / Nova24tv
Instead of Slovenian politics and the key stakeholders uniting when it comes to the fight against the epidemic of the novel coronavirus, we are witnessing cases of obstruction and provocations. This has become especially clear before the beginning of the school year, even though the majority of people believe that it is better for children to go to school in a school environment and not have to attend online classes. This, of course, requires that the school environment be safe. For this reason, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport has decided that the PCT condition (recovered, vaccinated, tested) will be necessary for entry into the school premises. Instead of Branimir Štrukelj, the General Secretary of the Education, Science and Culture Trade Union helping create a safe environment in schools with his attitude, he obviously believes that his mission is to complicate things as much as possible and find reasons to criticise the measures, which have been accepted as logical abroad, as they are needed if we want to function normally during the epidemic – as normally as possible in the given situation.
After the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport announced that there would be no significant novelties when it comes to pedagogical work, but that the only novelty will be the PCT condition, the trade unionist Branimir Štrukelj expectedly responded to the announcement in a statement for the commercial television station POP TV. “In front of schools, there will be ramps. Will there be security guards? Who will control this? And if I forget my vaccination certificate at home. What will they do to me? Will they send me back home?” he said, among other things, making it clear that he is simply unable to, at least once, not criticise the measures that would contribute to a safe school environment.
“Look Brane, if someone forgets the PCT certificate, they will go home. Period. They will not forget it next time. At least I think that is how it should be. It’s fairly simple.” “What do they do to you in the store if you forget your money at home?” “Štrukelj, the main job of your trade union is to organise the vaccination of its members.” “Once again, you are not looking for solutions but instead trying to complicate things.” “Poor teachers who have a trade unionist like this. Yes, Branimir, if you forget your certificate at home, you are an idiot – because you can easily download it to your smartphone. But if you do not have it with you, turn around and go home to get the printed version of it. It is really not that difficult. Will that work for you?” These are just some of the critical comments that were published online after Štrukelj proved once again that he was not interested in finding solutions, but only in complicating things even further, and thus creating a negative atmosphere when it comes to the work of the government.
On the one hand, Štrukelj’s attitude is not all that surprising, as he also joined the SD party’s campaign – “For a school without masks.” Štrukelj then tore the mask off of his face in protest in front of the cameras. When he realised that these decisions had led to a clear deterioration of the epidemiological picture, he changed his mind and called for a safe environment in schools. He did not learn anything from this lesson, as he then began to oppose the compulsory testing of the teachers and, finally, the compulsory vaccination of teachers, despite the fact that this kind of initiative is widely supported by school trade unions abroad.
The experts are clear in their opinion
If we compare the number of confirmed infections with the novel coronavirus to the numbers from last summer, we can see that this year we are doing much worse, as the numbers are currently much higher. “The numbers are high; they are much higher than last summer, despite the fact that summertime is kind of a lull. Schools are out, there are fewer people at work because they are on their annual leave, so we are especially concerned about the expected further increase in the number of cases in early autumn,” warns infectiologist and president of the Medical Chamber of Slovenia, Bojana Beović, who emphasised that the wise thing to do is for everyone who can get vaccinated, to do so. “Vaccination of the elderly is crucial.” In an interview with the Slovenian Press Agency, Beović said that she believes that learning should take place in schools and not online. “We need to understand the epidemic already and then learn to live with it. We still have more than ten days left before school starts, during which time the majority of the population that is in regular contact with schoolchildren can still get vaccinated, at least with the first dose,” she said.
“One way to make sure that schools can remain open is by vaccinating the teachers and students’ families,” Beovič pointed out. Based on past experience in connection with the campaign which called for masks not being mandatory in schools, it is expected that Štrukelj will eventually sober up and start listening to the medical experts who are cooperating with employees of the education sector in creating the appropriate measures for a safe return to schools. Considering that the Ministry of Education will convene separate meetings with the principals of kindergartens, primary and secondary schools via video conference this morning, where all the necessary information about the beginning of the school year will be given, and which will also be attended by the representatives of the Ministry of Health, the National Institute of Education, the National Institute of Public Health and others, it is difficult to understand why Štrukelj started spreading dissatisfaction the day before. If it is really in everyone’s interest for schools to be open during the epidemic, then dialogue is the only thing that will help us achieve this in practice. Will petty political games once again prevail, to the detriment of the children?