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Latvian schools still in the dark about upcoming school year

A month and a half is left until the new school year, and most schools in Latvia are unaware of what is going to happen and how to prepare for the learning process, Latvian Television reported July 17.

The beginning of August is the latest time for schools to be able to adapt to the conditions to be in place, but it is not known what these conditions are. Mārtiņš Leja, principal of Suntaži Secondary School, said: “Something is being talked about right now, something we hear in the media as if there are variations, but there is no concrete clarity. [..] It should be clear: principals, here you go, you can guide your school by this, here are your options. We're getting even more agitated right now.”

Principal of Vilis Plūdons Kuldīga Secondary School Inese Astaševska said:

“It is important for us at this time [to know] - whether we are starting to study in person or remotely. That is essential. Of course, August is too late for teachers' vaccinations. It should have happened, so to say, yesterday, the day before.”

The Ministry of Education and Science (IZM) explained that the guidelines are being developed and will be presented to schools in August. The Ministry will offer the principle of decentralization in order to allow learning to take place in person.

The Education and Science Minister's advisor Jānis Ozols said: “The overall framework will be determined by the government and the Ministry of Education. We foresee much more responsibility for the founders of schools. In most cases, they are municipalities. And we believe and recommend that founders should also trust the leaders of their establishments, because who knows the [local] situation better.”

Agnese Lepse, principal of the elementary school of Ķeipene, said that in the last year it was possible to assess and organize the work. “The parishes are very small, there is a small population. Schools are small, classrooms are spacious. We could actually work last year.”

The ministry is therefore developing a principle of safe schools, not safe municipalities as it was last school year. Ozols said: “When the school itself observes an infection at school, [there will be] a new safety protocol that the school once again isolates transfers to other classes, groups or staff.”

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