In-person, hybrid or online: Health Ministry analysis shows how schools could start in Romania
Schools in Romania will use different learning models when the new school year starts on September 14, based on each locality's epidemiological situation.
The Ministry of Health published on Monday, September 7, an analysis of the epidemiological situation in Romania’s counties and localities, which shows the incidence rate of coronavirus infections per thousand inhabitants (namely the total number of new COVID-19 cases per 1,000 inhabitants reported in each locality in the last 14 days) - essential data for the beginning of the new school year.
The authorities have announced three possible scenarios for the start of the 2020/2021 school year: in-person classes, the hybrid model (alternating virtual learning and in-class learning), and the online/at-home only scenario.
According to the analysis published by the Ministry of Health on Monday, schools in several large cities of the country, including Bucharest, Iasi, Brasov, Oradea, Braila, Buzau, Targoviste, Giurgiu, Miercurea Ciuc, Piatra Neamt, Ploiesti, Tulcea, Ramnicu Valcea, and Vaslui could use the hybrid scenario. In these cities, the overall infection rate is higher than 1 per 1,000 inhabitants (but lower than 3 per 1,000 inhabitants).
However, when looking at Bucharest's districts, the situation is different, Hotnews.ro reported. In districts 1, 2, and 3, the incidence rate is over 1 (district 1 - 1.34, district 2 - 1.17, and district 3 - 1,03), and this means that the schools here could use the hybrid model. Meanwhile, with incidence rates below 1, the schools in districts 4, 5, and 6 (district 4 - 0.96 incidence rate, district 5 - 0.93, district 6 - 0.82) could start the new year with in-person classes.
According to the Health Ministry's analysis, most localities in Romania fall into the green scenario, which means they could reopen with in-person classes.
However, there are also localities with outbreaks of COVID-19, which would fall into the red scenario (online/at-home only learning). A total of 43 localities are in this situation. For example, the highest incidence rate is in the commune of Sistarovat, in Arad county - 52.2 per 1,000 inhabitants.
The analysis of the epidemiological situation includes the number of new cases confirmed in the last 14 days (including September 6, 2020) and was carried out at the national level by the public health directorates (DSP) and the National Institute of Public Health (INSP).
"Each school will decide and adapt its scenario based on the indications from DSP, county school inspectorates, and emergency committees. We support the need to start schools' activity and, both the Ministry of Health and the public health departments and INSP, support efforts to start the new school year safely," health minister Nelu Tataru said.
(Photo source: screenshot from Health Ministry's document)