North Macedonia – high school students overjoyed to return to school, but maintaining physical distance in classrooms will be a problem


After a year and a half, elementary and secondary school students in North Macedonia returned to their schools. At the school entrances they were greeted by their teachers and professors who took them to their classrooms. The education process during the first school day was with shortened classes. The students had their temperature measured, disinfection of the premisses was performed, and the students didn’t enter the buildings all at once, but class by class.

This is the first time for the students in North Macedonia to return to their classrooms since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Aleksandar Aleksovski, a biology professor at the Marie Curie Sklodowska high school, said that the students are overjoyed because they are returning to their schools.

During the first school day, the protocols were obeyed, the children were overjoyed to return to school. They took the matters seriously, they understand that they should be heeding the protocols. As their professor, I told them either we will be abiding by the rules or we shall close the school and we shall all be studying from home. They didn’t want that to happen, so they obey the rules, Aleksovski says.

Some directors of the elementary schools that we talked with said it is impossible to meet the rule of keeping a physical distance in the classrooms, taking into fact that one classroom has 35 square meters with 30 students inside. As for the other regulations, they said those were easier to be met.

In North Macedonia, there are around 987 schools, including the detached facilities, with including elementary school 188,000 pupils and 71,000 high school students. For most of them, the school year began with physical attendance. An exception to this are students from the municipalities of Tetovo and Gostivar for whom the government adopted a decision to study online for the first two weeks of the school year. There will be online learning during the first 7 days at the schools in the municipalities of Kichevo and Struga.

The pupils had their body temperature taken before entering the school buildings. Credit: Meta.mk

In accordance with the protocols adopted by the Infectious Diseases Commission, there will be guards controlling the students on entry or exit. Both school’s employees and the students will have their temperatures measured. If someone has a temperature higher than 37,4 C, they will be directed to see a doctor. A parent will not be allowed to enter the school. A parent may only leave the child at the school’s entrance and from there it will be taken over by a teacher. An exception to this rule is the parents of children with special educational needs or their personal assistants, who will be allowed to enter.

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