School bags rather than keyboards, please. Kids are more than ready to go back

Education Ministry promises there’ll be no widespread school closures this year, but there are still many unknowns.

Kids return to schools on September 2 in Slovakia. Kids return to schools on September 2 in Slovakia. (Source: Unsplash)

Welcome to your weekly overview of news from Slovakia. While schools are preparing to open for the school year – one that will be shaped by the rapidly spreading Delta variant – several places around the country, like its largest Roma housing estate, are readying their venues for the biggest event since the outbreak of the pandemic: Pope Francis’ visit. Slovakia is taking in a handful of Afghan refugees.

Schools get ready, with many known unknowns

Should I buy my child a new school bag? This is a question some parents are pondering as September nears. With the last two, heavily disrupted, school years in mind, scepticism prevails over declarations by the Education Ministry that there will be no across-the-board closure of schools in Slovakia in the upcoming school year.

Teachers, kids and parents in Slovakia have been advised to get ready for 2021/2022 almost as if nothing out of the ordinary were happening. The official start of the school year in Slovakia is September 1, but as that date is a national day – Constitution Day, first celebrated in 1993 – the actual first day of school is September 2.

Much like last year, all primary and secondary schools in Slovakia will open on that day, with similar anti-Covid rules in place, including a mask mandate and a recommendation not to mix classes. The Education Ministry offers parents the possibility of using at-home rapid testing kits, which they will receive in a batch delivery, free of charge, after the school year begins if they are interested. Perhaps the main difference is that while last year the focus was on preventing outbreaks at schools and parents hoped their children would make it through the school year without being infected, this year that expectation no longer applies.

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