With the students of the Gymnasium and the Lyceum returning to their desks, the time has come for the important decisions for the opening or not of the primary schools, at a time when the arguments of both sides are many and well-founded.
As seen from yesterday’s position of Sotiris Tsiodras, the Committee of Infectious Diseases Committee seems to be giving the green light for the opening of the primary schools from June 1, with the final decisions being made on Monday 25 May.
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From the first moment, however, when the plans to lift the lockdown were announced, the concern for the primary schools, in particular, was intense, with scientists, teachers, parents and the opposition sharply criticizing.
However, there are disagreements not only between the various scientists but also within the committee itself. Characteristic are the reservations expressed several times by Gikas Majorkinis in recent weeks, in stark contrast to the “doctrine” of Tsiodra.
Teachers and parents are also wary: on the one hand, students’ return to learning and communication with other children is considered positive, while on the other hand, it will certainly relax a burden for working parents, on the other hand, despite the strict measures that will apply. it is uncertain whether the younger students can keep them.
And scientists may be reassuring about transmitting the virus to children, but the same is not true for teachers, who are likely to be more prone to Covid-19 disease.
Scientists say “no”
However, it seems that not everyone has the same opinion as Sotiris Tsiodras about the opening of schools.
The president of the hospital doctors, Matina Pagoni, in her current position on the opening of the primary schools, expressed the opposite opinion, noting that it is not possible for the children to observe the protection measures.
He even wondered who would be responsible if something happened. Speaking to SKAI, Ms Pagoni said that primary schools and kindergartens should not be opened, because it is not possible for children to comply with the measures. In September, he said, they will be more familiar with the new terms.
As he said, it is not easy for teachers to supervise children in order to observe the measures.
“We have to be cautious and go step by step.” Parents are worried about who will take responsibility if something happens, Ms Pagoni wondered.
Several infectious disease specialists have talked about the difficulty of deciding on the opening of schools as they have noted that it is not an equation with a solution.
“It simply came to our notice then. There is no 100% answer to this question “, Gikas Majorkinis has emphasized.
“Yes, but,” say the teachers
Stavros Petrakis, general secretary of the Hellenic Teachers’ Federation (DOE), gave his own answer to the question of whether and why primary schools should be opened, speaking to the radio station “THEMA 104.6”.
“It simply came to our notice then that we all had to decide. As long as the experts judge that the schools should be opened, let them be opened, and the teachers will follow the experts, said Stavros Petrakis.
At the same time, however, he explained that “the closed school has many class characteristics”, as it creates more problems for the children of the poor than for the rich.
He also noted that children in primary school are very young and unable to keep their distance, while small classrooms and narrow corridors are not suitable for returning to school under these conditions.
“Here we are talking about young children who have experienced situations of confinement,” said Mr Petrakis, focusing on the psychological factor, but as he said, “the school process should continue.”
“We,” he added. of the ILO, “we recognize that schools may be closed, but the educational process is done with modern and asynchronous education, although the living process is not replaced”.
Zacharaki for primary school: Classes can continue until the end of June
The Deputy Minister of Education, Sofia, Zacharaki, announced that the Ministry of Education has already sent instructions for both the learning objectives to the schools in case of reopening of the primary schools, as well as instructions for the observance of the hygiene rules.
In the meantime, “schools can continue until the end of June if we get the green light,” said the deputy education minister, adding that “we are in touch with the teachers and will give the schedule as soon as this is decided”.
The argument in favour of the opening of primary schools
The representative of the Ministry of Health for the corona, Professor Sotiris Tsiodras, supported the return of the primary school students to the desks yesterday, saying that “there is no better time for the children to return to school”.
Infectious disease specialist Sotiris Tsiodras referred extensively to the dilemma between the state and parents, regarding the opening of primary schools, kindergartens and kindergartens.
On the occasion of the thoughts in the government, for the return of the children to the primary schools from the 1st of June, Mr Tsiodras noted that there was some epidemiological benefit from the interruption of the operation of the schools.
“You know very well, I can assure you that some of the arguments could be about other common viruses, such as the flu,” said Sotiris Tsiodras, referring to the views of scientists who have reservations about opening schools.
However, as he said, there are a number of arguments in favour of opening schools.
– The hidden inequality in learning and education for children belonging to poorer families.
– Cost in a lost educational process, knowledge that has not been widely evaluated. The majority of children either did not have good access or did not attend classes.
– Significant effects of the ban on children’s mental and emotional health. We have children who have not met their friends for weeks.
– Financial reasons that mainly concern parents. According to Unicef, it is recommended that the authorities consider the benefits and risks of a possible school opening. What will work best for a child living with a vulnerable group is important for their health not to go to school.
The example of other countries
However, compared to other European countries, Greece has been slow to open primary schools and kindergartens.
There is a tendency for countries that did better with the corona to have already opened rooms for younger students with fairly smooth results. In Spain and Italy, on the other hand, students are already enjoying their summer vacation, as they have met again with teachers and professors for September.
Typical is the example of Denmark, which opened all educational levels on April 14. Norway followed a few days later, on April 20, again with daycare centres and kindergartens, while the rest of the educational levels opened next week.
In Poland, kindergartens and nurseries have been reopening since May 6.
In the Netherlands and Croatia, primary schools and kindergartens opened on May 11.
Finally in Austria, which has also implemented a rotating teaching system such as Greece, primary and secondary school students returned to classes this week.