Most pupils return to remote learning until end of February in Poland

Children from the fifth grade upwards will return to remote learning from this Thursday until the end of February, as Poland seeks to contain a surge in the Omicron variant that has led to record numbers of coronavirus infections.

The new measures were announced today by the education minister, Przemysław Czarnek. He has regularly emphasised his desire to keep schools open, but said that the decision to close them again “had to be made [after] listening to the views of the sanitary services and analysing yesterday and today’s data”.

On Friday, Poland reported its highest number of new COVID-19 cases, 36,665, since the start of the pandemic. That record was broken against the following day, with 40,876 cases. The daily figures have remained above 29,000 since then, with Omicron now accounting for around 45% of infections.

The youngest four grades – that is, children up to 11 years old – will remain in school. Preschools and nurseries will continue to function as normal, as will special education schools, vocational schools and boarding houses.

The shift to remote classes coincides with winter school holidays, which in Poland last for two weeks but occur at different times in each of the country’s sixteen provinces.

Some children’s holidays started in mid-January and will end this Friday, but others will not begin until mid-February and then last until the end of that month.

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