Response to Covid-19 during the school year 2020-2021
The new school year started across Croatia on 7 September 2020 with 460,000 students enrolled in primary and secondary schools implementing the epidemiological measures proposed by the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Classes in primary and secondary schools, higher education facilities and pre-school education facilities are organised in accordance with three different models due to the Covid-19 circumstances.
For Model A all classes are conducted in school: face-to-face, Model B is blended learning, which combines classroom learning with online instruction (this model assumes that students from first to fourth grade attend classes at school, and students from fifth to eighth grade of elementary school, as well as high school students, attend classes partly at school, partly by means of distance education), and Model C is distance learning which implies both the two-way communication between the student and the teacher using online tools, and independent work at home.
According to Science and Education Minister Radovan Fuchs the majority of schools, 92%, are starting with Model A where schools operating in a single shift can split their students in two shifts (morning and afternoon) to reduce the number of pupils in the building. Other schools in which maintaining physical distance and wearing masks is not possible can opt from Model B and divide their pupils so that some have classes in school and some online.
Based on the epidemiological developments changes and adaptations might occur.
Response to Covid-19 during the school year 2019-2020
Schools reopened on 11 May 2020.
In Croatia the response to the crisis was organised on the national level. All schools organised virtual staffrooms and virtual classrooms. Mentor teams supported schools in the organization of virtual classrooms with guidelines on methodical and technical aspects. Video lessons for a week of teaching are produced on the national level. The ministry publishes around 50 hours of teaching on TV weekly for the youngest students, and 300 video lessons weekly for students aged 10-18. There is too a mentor system in place that helps speed up the process and support teachers, students and parents continuously.
A 24/7 help desk is available answering emails while support is provided over the phone, websites, messaging service and social networks. Additionally, the ministry responds to questions on their website via the FAQ section.
An important lesson learned is that parents need to be addressed through alternative channels. That is why the ministry uses TV to communicate messages and the broadcasting companies are mobilised to provide better internet access for students.