Schools, kindergartens and universities will remain closed in Romania for the rest of the academic year because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, President Klaus Iohannis said Monday, with a re-opening planned for September.
“We gave up on the idea of reopening schools. It would be impossible, for example, for students to respect social distancing rules, so we are trying to avoid major risks,” Iohannis said during a televised speech.
An exception will be made for students in the final year of primary and secondary schools who, for ten days in June, will be allowed to attend classes in order to prepare for final exams.
Over the coming months, instead of going to school students will continue to take part in distance learning programmes.
Education Minister Monica Anisie decided last week that online classes be made compulsory, a measure criticised by students’ associations.
“Hundreds of thousands of students don’t have access to digital instruments and cannot take part in online classes,” the National Council of Students said in a statement, calling the measure “discriminatory”.
Romania is one of the poorest countries in the European Union, with 38 percent of children at risk of social exclusion and poverty, according to Eurostat.
The country has so far reported 11,339 infections of the new coronavirus, and 631 deaths.
Two months after it was brought in, the country’s state of emergency will be lifted on May 15, when restrictions on movement will end, but wearing a face mask will become mandatory on public transport and in other enclosed public spaces.