Thursday, 24 February 2022

Protective Masks No Longer Mandatory In Classrooms

ZAGREB, 24 Feb 2022 - Education Minister Radovan Fuchs on Thursday said that students and teachers would no longer be required to wear masks during lessons as of Monday and that restrictions related to excursions and outdoor lessons would be relaxed.

"As we announced, as of next week masks will no longer be required during classes," Minister Fuchs told reporters after the cabinet meeting, adding that the decision was coordinated with the Croatian Public Health Institute and epidemiologists.

Masks will still be required in public transport and hallways in schools.

Wearing protective masks will no longer be mandatory for teachers, many of whom are vaccinated and who are also tested for coronavirus.

This decision comes after implementing self-testing of students, the minister underscored. In the first week of self-testing, almost 2,000 asymptomatic positive cases were identified and now there is barely some twenty-odd.

Self-testing of students will continue but there won't be any self-isolation, he said.

Instructions will be published today or tomorrow, said Fuchs, adding that measures regarding excursions and outdoor lessons will be relaxed.

He added that children can continue to wear masks if their parents wish them to and also it is recommended that children with underlying conditions should continue to wear masks.

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Sunday, 13 February 2022

Science and Education Minister Says Cancellation of Mask Mandate in Schools to be Considered

ZAGREB, 13 Feb 2022 - Science and Education Minister Radovan Fuchs said on Saturday that the cancellation of the mask mandate in schools would be considered in the coming month if the self-testing of school children and the related cancellation of self-isolation proved effective.

According to the latest recommendations by the public health institute (HZJZ) for children and parents, students who self-test no longer need to self-isolate in case of contact with a person positive for COVID-19.

"If this proves effective and good, we will also consider that option in the coming month and discuss it with the HZJZ," Fuchs said in an interview with Nova TV when asked about an end to the face mask mandate in schools.

The minister also believes that the self-testing of students is not a belated measure, even though the number of new infections has been on the decline.

"We are not late (with self-testing). It has nothing to do with whether figures are falling or not. Right now we have a huge number of students in self-isolation and that could continue as long as there is a single positive case in a class. This measure was introduced exactly because of that," the minister said, confirming that the number of new infections was falling and that the trend was evident among students.

"... we have opted for this measure so that classes could be held face-to-face until the end of the school year," the minister said.

Asked if he had concerns about a response by antivaxxers to self-testing and possible protests outside schools, Fuchs said that he hoped there would not be any, that principals had been given instructions, that there could be no unannounced protests or demonstrations outside schools and that if they were held, police would be called in.

As for parents who do not want to test their children, the minister repeated that they would fill in a form withholding consent for that procedure and submit it to their child's teacher and the child would not have to undergo testing at home. However, if the child gets into contact with a person who is positive for COVID-19, they will have to self-isolate, he said.

Asked if he knew the number of children who would not self-test at home, Fuchs said that according to available information, the number was one or two students per class.

Asked if all children, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19, should get tested if they get into contact with a positive person, the minister answered in the positive.

The minister also noted that the process of self-testing would not be controlled and that it was based on trust.

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Thursday, 16 September 2021

Students and Teachers in Sinj Wearing Masks in Class Today

ZAGREB, 16 Sept 2021 - Students and teachers of primary and secondary schools in Sinj must wear masks in class on Thursday, despite a recommendation of Sinj's civil protection team to lift the obligation to weak masks in schools.

"About 300 students and 25 teachers of the Dinko Šimunović Secondary School are today obliged to wear a protective mask in class, and the situation is the same in other secondary and primary schools in Sinj," the school's headmaster Tomislav Bilić told Hina.

He added that headmasters of primary and secondary schools in Sinj discussed on Wednesday evening the mandatory mask rule. He also said that one of his school's students was positive to COVID, and ten were in self-isolation because they had been in contact with the infected student.

On Wednesday, Sinj's civil protection team, at the proposal of Sinj Mayor Miro Bulj, made a decision recommending that elementary and secondary school students and teachers need not wear a protective mask.

Bilić said in a press release on the Dinko Šimunović school's website, despite the recommendation of the Sinj civil protection team, that measures on the mandatory wearing of masks in class were still in force.

He added that the school board might propose a decision to abolish these measures after collecting opinions from the Ministry of Science and Education, the teaching council, the parents' council and the students' council.

"I consider that through joint cooperation between teachers, parents, founders, the local team, and epidemiologists we will make the best decision in the interest of all our students," Bilić said in the press release.

The head of the education department within Split-Dalmatia County said on Wednesday that pupils in the county, including pupils in Sinj, were obliged to wear protective masks.

Students of primary and secondary schools in Sinj must wear masks tomorrow and in the next period, in compliance with the rules proposed by the Croatian Public Health Institute (HZJZ) and the Ministry of Science and Education, the county education department's head Tomislav Đonlić said on Wednesday evening in a press release.

The press release was prompted by the decision of the mayor of Sinj, Miro Bulj of the Bridge party, that elementary and secondary school pupils and teachers need not wear a mask.

"Mayor Bulj does not know the rules or intentionally accentuates this issue only to score cheap political points," Đonlić was quoted by the press release as saying.

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Monday, 14 June 2021

Božinović: Masks Regulated For Personnel In Hospitality

June 14th, 2021 - Commenting on the reaction by Health Minister Vili Beroš, who left a cafe on Sunday because the waitress wasn't wearing a mask, Interior Minister Davor Božinović said that a decision adopted in October 2020 by the national COVID response team regulates wearing a mask for personnel in hospitality.

"In my opinion, Beroš acted the only way a health minister could. If anyone is obliged to point out protective measures against the epidemic while it still lasts, then that is the health minister," Božinović underscored on Monday in Zadar, where he opened the police offices for the person charged with the implementation of safety measures during the 2021 tourism season.

Asked by reporters about the fact that the waitress claimed that she had respiratory problems, which was why she could not wear a mask, Božinović added: "Unfortunately had she said that straight away, I'm certain we would not be talking about that today. As far as I am aware, she has a doctor's certificate. I don't know that wasn't said straight away. The minister would have accepted that because he is a doctor," said Božinović, who is also the head of the national COVID response team.

Asked about several concerts announced where no special measures will be imposed, Božinović said he wasn't aware of these events.

"But if they do exist, that is the responsibility of local civil protection teams. The national team cannot be expected to know and take account of every single event," he said, adding that several possibilities are planned for the event industry if the epidemiological situation continues to improve.

He underscored that "the lower numbers should not lull us into a false sense that the virus doesn't exist."

"We need to avoid risky situations. It has already been confirmed that six people became infected during the celebration of the basketball victory in Zadar last week. The epidemiological institute and all relevant services have to locate their contacts and see how to stop those numbers because when you observe the numbers, then it is obvious that there are more infections in Zadar county than other Dalmatian counties," he said.

Health Minister Vili Beroš on Monday denied claims on social networks that he was two kunas short on his tab when he walked out of the cafe after the waitress who served him wasn't wearing a mask. When asked about the incident by reporters, Beroš replied, "Do you think that a government minister would owe two kunas to anyone?"

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