Older pupils still stay home. Exception made for those in material need

Minister would like to open schools as soon as possible, PM talks about return in 2021.

(Source: Sme/Jozef Jakubčo)

Online lessons, assignments and self-learning. Most pupils and students in Slovakia are once again experiencing what they already underwent this spring.

Only the youngest kids (under approx. 10 years of age) still get to attend school. Kindergartens are open and first- to fourth-graders of primary schools continue in-person education in classrooms. Everyone else has been on distant learning since October 26, and this is set to last at least until November 27.

“Complete opening of the later grades of primary schools and of secondary schools is out of the question,” chief hygienist Ján Mikas said on November 16 ahead of the meeting of the central crisis staff. He added that if the epidemic situation improves significantly, it would be possible to discuss it.

While cinemas, theatres and churches were allowed to open as of November 16 up to half of capacities, following what many observers have seen as an unexpected decision, schools remain closed. The only exception was made for children in material need who do not have the necessary means to have access to distance education.

While Education Minister Branislav Gröhling (SaS) would like to open as soon as possible, PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) does not foresee children returning to schools until after Christmas.

Meanwhile, with every day children spend learning outside of schools, the gap in their knowledge is widening, and children from socially disadvantaged environments are lagging behind ever more. This is a major cause of concern for their teachers and experts on education.

Questionable return to schools

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