Senior high school students to return in Feb if no third virus wave

Marcin Bielecki/PAP

Poland's education minister has said if there is no third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, then year-eight and matriculation (matura) exam students might return to school.

But in an interview for the Onet.pl portal, Przemyslaw Czarnek also said that this is the optimistic scenario.

School have been closed in Poland for almost all ages since the end of October under Covid-19 restrictions.

"In the optimistic scenario, if the number of infections does not increase and a third wave does not hit us, I hope that in February we will be able to have at least a hybrid system or a stationary system, for students of class eight and matura classes because they need schooling due to the exams that are ahead of them,” said Czarnek.

He added that if the infection rate continues to fall then other classes could return to school.

Following the end of the winter break on Monday, primary school years one to three are expected to return to normal lessons.

As for other pupils, the minister for education and science said he would like them to return to school because “distance learning can never replace regular lessons.”

But he stressed that this would happen only with the consent of medical experts.

Czarnek added everything depends on the course of the pandemic.

"If it stays at the same level as it is, or if it drops, I think that February and March will be the months when we will take decisions, carefully and responsibly," he said, adding that the situation in schools would be monitored constantly.