BUCHAREST, Aug 5 – Romanian schools will reopen Sept. 14 on a case-by-case basis, with towns affected by the new coronavirus pandemic likely to hold classes online, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said on Wednesday.
Coronavirus infections in Romania have exceeded 1,000 new cases per days on all but one of the last 15 days, lifting confirmed cases to 56,550 since the pandemic reached the country in late February.
Some 2,521 people have died, and Romania has extended a state of alert until the middle of August and placed several small towns and villages with spikes in the number of cases under localised quarantine.
“For most children, (the reopening) means they will actually physically go to school,” Iohannis told reporters.
“There are three scenarios depending on the number of cases in each town,” he said. “The way each school functions will be decided locally, on a decentralized county level.”
Towns with a single case per 1,000 people reported in the last 14 days will see all children back in classrooms. Those with up to three cases will see only kindergartners and a few grades back, with other classes held online. Towns with more than three cases will hold classes exclusively online.
Iohannis said several hundred towns currently fell under the middle scenario and there are 50 towns in which schools could not reopen. The status of each school would be constantly re-evaluated.
The move to close schools at the start of the pandemic has underscored the unequal access to education in Romania for children in rural areas and underprivileged communities.
On Wednesday, the Romanian unit of charity Save the Children commended the move to reopen schools but urged authorities to see that all students are treated equally.
“What is essential is that all children return to school safely and with equal access,” it said in a statement. (Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Leslie Adler)