In-person classes for some grades in Bulgaria resume on April 12

Schools in Bulgaria will return to the rotating system of in-person classes on April 12, with pupils in the first to fourth, seventh, eighth and 10th grades in classrooms from that day, Education Minister Krassimir Vulchev said.

Speaking on April 8 at the weekly briefing on the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria, Vulchev said that schools in Bulgaria were returning to the system that was in place up to March 22, the date when heightened restrictions left in-person classes at schools suspended and all pupils went over to distance learning.

The current plan, if the situation allows, is for pupils in the fifth, ninth and 12th grades to resume in-person classes on April 26.

Vulchev expressed caution about making longer term predictions about in-person classes because decisions depended on the Covid-19 situation.

He said that currently, there were 500 teaching and non-teaching staff who were infected, a figure much lower than in November and December.

According to Vulchev, the better situation was probably due to the vaccination of school staff and the fact that the education system was only partially in-person.

Medicines Agency head Bogdan Kirilov told the briefing that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) had found that the benefit-risk balance of the AstraZeneca vaccine was positive and it should continue to be administered.

On the night of April 7, following the EMA announcement, Bulgaria’s national vaccination HQ decided that people could continue to be given the AstraZeneca vaccine, but with caution regarding women younger than 60, as most cases of blood clotting cases are in that category.

Health Minister Kostadin Angelov, asked whether women younger than 60 who had been given a first dose of AstraZeneca would be given a second, pointed to the 10-week interval between the two doses and said that a second dose would be given at the latest possible point.

Asked whether a second dose could be from a different brand of vaccine, Angelov said that there were no scientific studies yet on the question of administering first and second doses from different vaccines.

Angelov told the briefing that Bulgaria was in “the first steps” towards the end of the third wave of Covid-19, with very fragile trends of declining morbidity.

Currently, 74 per cent of hospital beds for Covid-19 patients not in need of emergency care were occupied, while 64 per cent of intensive care beds were occupied. According to Angelov, there was a decreasing trend in the rate of hospitalisations.

He said that by the end of the day, an order would be issued easing some of the measures, probably including allowing large non-food shops to re-open, with a limitation of the number of people per square metre.

(Photo: Bulgaria’s Ministry of Education)

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The Sofia Globe staff

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