Back to School. Many schools in Romania will reopen after drop in Covid-19 cases

Foto: INQUAM/Virgil Simionescu

Many public schools will reopen in Romania following a drop in Covid-19 cases in recent weeks, a decision that was taken in line with what other European Union states are doing, President Klaus Iohannis said Tuesday.

„The pandemic hasn’t ended….. but we can state that the number of cases has declined a bit in recent weeks,” the president said, announcing the re-opening of schools next week at the beginning of the new semester. „There are less patients in intensive care and fewer hospital admissions.”

Schools were closed in early November as cases soared.

Speaking at the end of a meeting with the prime minister and the health and education ministers, he said: „We unanimously decided that starting Monday (February 8), the majority (of students) will physically go to school,” taking into account the epidemiological situation in every place.

„We want schools to operate safely for children and teachers.”

There has been pressure on authorities to reopen schools after months of remote learning that some parents and teachers say is detrimental to children’s education and welfare.

School-age children living in rural areas or in less well-off families have been particularly challenged by distance learning, either because they don’t have electronic devices or access to an internet connection.

Romania’s government promised in mid-January that schools would re-open on February 8 when the new semester begins, as long as the number of Covid-19 cases didn’t rise significantly. Cases have fallen in recent weeks.

„We are not alone in Europe, we are looking at what others are doing,” Mr Iohannis said. „The majority of EU (states) are opening schools. Most schools are already open or will be progressively opened. Only three 3 states haven’t opened their schools.”

Romania imposed restrictions in November as cases reached as high as 10,000 a day. Restaurants and  bars were only allowed to serve customers if they had outdoor seating and theaters and schools were closed.

Cases have decreased since Christmas with 2,676 cases reported on Tuesday, the highest in several days, and 111 deaths, the highest single-day toll since January 20.

Under the new rules, schools in the ‘green scenario,’ places which have less than 1.5 cases per 1,000 will fully reopen.

In ‘yellow scenario’ places, primary school pupils will return to the classroom, as will pupils in the VIII and XII years who are sitting crucial exams.

In the worst affected places, where there are more than 3 cases per 1,000 residents, kindergartens and primary schools will reopen, the president said.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here