All state and private schools in Nicosia district will close for the next three days apart from a few in remote areas, the health minister announced on Tuesday, while the university of Cyprus will close until March 25 as precautionary measures against coronavirus.
Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou said earlier on Tuesday there were no plans as yet to close all schools after two people tested positive for coronavirus.
Speaking to the media, Prodromou said “we are monitoring the situation” and “we all follow the recommendations and instructions given by the ministry of health.
“Our preparation is better than other countries,” the minister added.
Attempts by the Cyprus Mail to contact the minister were unsuccessful.
Some parents took measures into their own hands and kept their children home on Tuesday, a day after a doctor working at Nicosia general hospital was one of the two cases tested positive for coronavirus.
Less than 40 students attended a specific Nicosia primary school while some parents in four others also kept their children at home.
“We are a small place and it became known that some of the parents might have been associated with the infected doctor,” the president of primary school federation of parents Soteris Christofi said.
The children of a nurse who works at Nicosia general and may have been in contact with the infected doctor attend the most affected school, which was mainly affected, president of the federation of parents’ associations Charalambos Dionysiou told the Cyprus Mail.
The education ministry sent a circular to schools in January with instruction to teachers to inform students on the rules of personal hygiene, but some parents complained on Tuesday that no preventative measures were taken before the confirmed cases.
One parent in Limassol told the Cyprus Mail the education ministry had done nothing, not even brought in hand sanitiser. “They are totally unprepared,” he said. The parent said there were at least three or four primary schools in Limassol he knew of that had made no preparations. “They didn’t even tell the children how to wash their hands,” said the parent.
“We informed the education ministry and the suspected case was instructed to self-isolate for two weeks, but the school is operating normally for now,” Hadjisavva said.
“Oelmek has received a lot of phone calls from teachers and students, especially teachers who are facing serious chronic health problems, and who are very concerned,” said the union in an announcement.
Hadjisavva also explained concerns have been expressed about students who recently returned from programmes abroad and exchange students from other countries with many reported coronavirus cases.
“parents are concerned, just like everyone is.”
He noted that despite the fact some parents did not take their children to school on Tuesday, they had gone to class the previous days when the doctor was not diagnosed yet so there is still a chance they caught the virus if one of the children was infected.
The rector of the University of Cyprus Tasos Christofides on Tuesday informed students of the temporary closure of the university and nursing school starting March 11 until March 25.
The university’s library and gym will also close for the public and the students.