ZAGREB, Aug 18 (Hina) – Education Minister Radovan Fuchs said on Tuesday that the task force was working intensively on preparing measures for the start of the 2020/2021 school year on September 7 and that pupils from grades 1 to 4 would not be wearing masks.
Fuchs had appointed a 23-member task force in charge of elaborating and proposing measures for the start of the 2020/2021 school year consisting of epidemiologists, representatives of education agencies, principals’ associations, school and trade union founders, the coordinator of which is Ivana Pavic Simetin from the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ).
The measures must take into account many particularities of schools across Croatia, which are faced with the coronavirus epidemic, as well as of schools in the Zagreb area due to the consequences of the March earthquake.
For that reason, Fuchs said, nothing more definite can be said, except that children in lower grades of primary school will not need to wear masks.
The task force’s coordinator Pavic Simetin confirmed this, saying that face masks do not offer much protection to children of that age, who often do not wear them in the right way.
The task force is still considering whether masks should be worn by pupils in the higher grades in primary schools and students in secondary schools, and they are waiting for a statement from the World Health Organisation (WHO) on this issue.
Face masks are mandatory for students at higher education facilities.
Asked about who will buy masks for pupils and students, Fuchs said that that would be discussed whether they would be bought by parents or schools.
Fuchs is aware that it is possible that the coronavirus spreads to schools, and when asked what would be done in case that happens, he said that this would be dealt with ad hoc.
Asked whether teachers and school staff would have to get tested for the coronavirus, Pavic Simetin said it was not mandatory and that epidemiological measures envisaged testing only those people showing coronavirus symptoms.