Covid-restriction opponents plan to establish new school

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A group of sceptics and opponents of Covid-19 restrictions has decided to set up their own school where students wouldn't have to worry about restrictions or mandatory vaccination against Covid-19, as the school would employ distance learning, Latvian Radio reported July 23.

Activists plan to create their own learning content to offer to interested parties for a fee. For the time being, experts have doubts that the group will be able to meet all the requirements by September.

Among the activists are Lelde Žuka, establisher of the open-air school, entrepreneur Arvils Pekuless, and Mārtiņš Gulbis, a physics teacher. The new school would be a distance learning school where children will learn the necessary subjects from materials created for this particular school.

“I as a parent, as a family engage in this distance-learning school, use these materials, my child learns the minimum. He's in the system, he's in legal protection, no one is looking for him because he is in the system, he gets education. And we don't have to go to a local school where, as we know, there are very drastic rules at the moment, and every teacher and even cleaning lady believes it is her responsibility to point out that the child has to disinfect his hands and so on,” Žuka said.

The group addresses their audience on Facebook groups, including conspiracy theorist channels. Arvils Pekuless explained: “There's a child on one side, there's an online library on the other. It's a job straight through a computer. It's like sitting and learning the wisdom of YouTube, where globalists and all other funny content makers have made sure that a child is entertained with educational materials of a dubious nature. In our case, it is controlled content.”

Membership fees would be €25 per month, but it will not be possible to hire teachers for this money. However, the founders are convinced that by the beginning of the school year, they will be able to set up both the school and the content of their teaching.

The State Education Quality Center (VISC) representative Ivans Jānis Mihailovs confirmed that the group was interested in the process of founding a school.

“Every school tries to choose its pedagogical approach and its own worldview. If it complies with the requirements of regulatory enactments and if enforcement of regulatory enactments is ensured, both by implementing the program and by teaching appropriate content, it shall be possible. But in this case, one thing is the statements, but it is necessary to evaluate and see the documents and to understand what education programme has been chosen,” Mihailovs said.

Meanwhile, the representative of Independent Education Association Agnese Pūtele told Latvian Radio that she relies on experts to assess whether the school in question is conducive to children's development. Whether the school will be successfully established will show in the autumn.

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