Romania’s president said Thursday that most schools will reopen in February when the new term begins after coronavirus cases fell in recent weeks.
Authorities physically shut schools in November after Covid-19 cases soared nationwide, and pupils moved to remote learning.
There has been pressure on the government to reopen schools as soon as possible, with critics saying online learning is detrimental to children’s education, particularly in vulnerable families that don’t have laptops or an internet connection.
President Klaus Iohannis said Thursday evening that most schools would reopen on February 8 when the new term begins, as long as cases don’t begin to spiral again.
Romania added 3,525 cases on Thursday and 66 deaths, much lower than daily figures a few weeks ago.
Romania began its Covid vaccine rollout last month, and by Thursday more than 167,000 people had been vaccinated, most of them healthcare professionals and other key workers.
A final decision will be taken on reopening schools February 2, when Prime Minister Florin Citu, the health and education ministers and the head of the emergency situations department meet with the president.
Schools which are in areas with less than 1.5 cases per 1,000 people will reopen; while schools in places with between 1.5 and 3 cases per 1,000 will partially reopen, he said. Younger classes and students doing final exams will go back to the classrooms.
In ‘red scenario areas’ of more than 3 cases per 1,000 areas, only kindergarten and primary school pupils will go to school, while schools in places where the infection rate is more than 6 per 1,000, all schools will remain shut, the president said.
He said higher education facilities, such as universities would individually decide whether to reopen or not.