Schools to remain open despite virus spread

Morawiecki said the school system was “passing the test”. Rafał Guz/PAP

The Polish government has stopped short of introducing restrictions on schools despite the renewed spread of the coronavirus.

The decision came as the health ministry released on Saturday figures showing a new daily record of 5,300 infections, while 53 people died of Covid-19 or Covid-19 related complications.

Speaking at a press conference Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister, said schools will function as normal for the time being.

The PM urged people to limit their contact with old-aged people.Rafał Guz/PAP

“Today 98 percent of schools are operating as normal with only a small percentage of schools using hybrid or distant systems of learning,” said the prime minister in response to a question posed by a journalist. “The strategy proposed by the education ministry in August seems to be passing the test despite the difficult circumstances. That is why today we don’t see any need to introduce compulsory distance learning.”

Addressing the press, Morawiecki also said that distance learning could cause serious damage to the physical and mental health of children. He added that the education system was, however, subject to “very intensive” discussions.

Adam Niedzielski, the health minister, added that mask wearing in school will remain compulsory during breaks and in common areas.

The call to protect seniors came as the health system came under growing pressure from the spread of the virus.Leszek Szymański/PAP

While the education system remains unchanged the prime minister announced the re-introduction of special shopping hours for seniors. Old people are an at-risk group and comprise the vast majority of Covid-19 victims. From October 15 shops and pharmacies will be open only to seniors between the hours of 10-12 in the morning.

“We strongly urge the elderly to stay at home,” said Morawiecki, adding that people should also try to limit their contact with old-aged people.