Response to Covid-19 during the school year 2020-2021
The school year started on 14 September and it will be in full harmonisation with the health protocols, a fact that brings three important changes in the attendance in the Cypriot schools. The first concerns the use of masks by all students, the use of single desks and the redistribution of classes in more than one school classrooms.
In addition, the Ministry of Education is already working on scenarios for the possibility of a second Covid-19 wave. According to them, in case of an outbreak of the pandemic and the imposition of a new lockdown, education will be done remotely. The Cyprus Telecommunications Authority, as the official provider of the Ministry of Education, has already started upgrading the connectivity of 478 schools with the internet with the aim of completing the work within four weeks. The second scenario elaborated by the Ministry concerns rotation attendance; in case the epidemiological picture of Cyprus imposes smaller numbers of students to be present in schools.
Response to Covid-19 during the school year 2019-2020
The ministry distributed guidelines and teaching content to teachers while the communication with the parents is done in the school level. Schools were in charge of finding out the family’s capacity regarding technology available at home.
Teachers were asked to do their own action plan for distance learning and the ministry implemented its own action plan at the state level. The parents were a major part of this process, especially in primary education.
The ministry supported teachers with webinars on how to use platforms such as Microsoft teams and office 365 for distant learning. At the same time, public television was casting special kinds of programmes, both public, and private, as a way of reaching out to students.
Regarding teachers’ professional development on distance learning, the ministry considered different options including a type of mentoring approach where advanced teachers act as coaches to less advanced teachers. They also organised Continuous Data Protection webinars.