Bulgaria: Decision next week on 5th to 12th graders returning to class on February 4

Various options are being discussed regarding fifth to 12th grade school pupils in Bulgaria returning to in-person classes as of February 4.

The options were discussed at a January 18 meeting between Health Minister Kostadin Angelov and Education Minister Krassimir Vulchev.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Chief State Health Inspector Angel Kunchev said that not all grades would resume in-person classes at once. Probably, as of February 4, pupils in the seventh, eighth and 12th grades would return to class.

It is also possible that pupils would alternate, for two weeks at a time, between in-person and distance learning.

A decision will be made next week, based on data about the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria.

Angelov said that pupils in the higher grades would return to in-person classes if the incidence of new coronavirus remains below 120 per 100 000 population.

In a separate development related to the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria, a further 18 720 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech were delivered to the country on January 18, fewer than had been planned.

Kunchev said that it was expected that the shortfall would be compensated for in the second half of February and possibly March with larger than previously agreed deliveries.

Bulgaria’s districts of Plovdiv and Bourgas are poised to begin the second phase of vaccinations, at old-age homes. In Sofia, the second stage may begin in seven to 10 days, because the capital city has a much larger complement of medical personnel to be vaccinated.

On January 18, Angelov and national operational headquarters chief Major-General Ventsislav Mutafchiyski, who heads the Military Medical Academy, both received their second doses of vaccine against Covid-19.

Kunchev said that it was possible that mass immunisation would begin in March or April.

For those operating the mobile polling stations in Bulgaria’s April 4 parliamentary elections, about 2000 doses of vaccines would be needed.

Kunchev said that the voting process, in terms of time and contact with people “is not more risky, I would even say much less risky, than a gathering in company or a visit to a shopping centre where there are many people and enclosed spaces. Voting lasts no more than 10 to 15 minutes”.

On election day, all standard anti-epidemic measures would have to be kept to, including wearing personal protective equipment, maintaining distancing and disinfecting.

(Photo: Ralaenin/freeimages.com)

The Sofia Globe’s coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria is supported by the Embassies of Switzerland and Finland.

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