Most Romanian schools may reopen on February 8.
Most schools in Romania may hold again in-person classes as of February 8, at the beginning of the second half of the school year, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis has announced. However, there is an important nuance to this announcement, namely, the fact that in-person classes will be held only if the epidemiological situation allows it. That is why a final decision will be taken on February 2, in a new assessment meeting similar tot that the President had on Thursday with PM Florin Citu, Health Minister Vlad Voiculescu and Education Minister Sorin Cimpeanu.. President Iohannis said students would return to school based on a three-color model, put into practice last fall, that shows the infection rate in every locality.
Klaus Iohannis: ”In the green scenario, everybody goes to school. In the yellow scenario, kindergartens are open and students in the 1st to 4th grades, the 8th grade and the 12 grade hold in-person classes, while all other students hold online classes. The red scenario, applied when the number of 3 infections per thousand people is exceeded, will keep at home 5th to 8th grade students and high school students, while kindergartens and primary school children will hold in-person classes.”
In the university system, which is autonomous, the decision to resume in-person courses will be taken by each institution, but, according to president Klaus Iohannis, universities can follow the model of the the pre-university system. ”
The National Students’ Council can be nothing but satisfied that the decentralisation it sought, in terms of the reopening of schools, might again be applied as of February 8. The Council has recently signalled the fact that online classes are tiring, inefficient and totally unsustainable on the long run, and that numerous students, especially from the underprivileged category, have no access to education because they do not have computers or internet access. Between March 2020 and January 2021, schools were only opened only for two months in Romania. UNICEF has in turn pleaded for schools to be kept open or reopened all over the world, to prevent multiple and devastating consequences, while World Vision Romania warned that the major learning gaps and school dropout can affect a whole generation.
Remus Pricopie, a former minister for education, now the rector of the National School of Political and Administrative Studies, has asked for the topic of school reopening to be approached with responsibility, in a fair and realistic manner, so as not to create false expectations among students, teachers and parents. (translated by Elena Enache)