Vilnius will resume in-class teaching in several more schools following a successful launch of a pilot project in one school a week ago.
On Wednesday, the Lithuanian government allowed extended the pilot project in Vilnius Duke Gediminas Progymnasium until the end of March. No coronavirus infections have been confirmed among the school community since classes resumed a week ago.
The government also allowed Vilnius Municipality to choose more schools where primary students will be able to return to classrooms if their communities agreed to undergo periodic testing.
Health Minister Arūnas Dulkys told the cabinet that “the first results show that the project is successful”.
The Education Ministry will now organise a meeting with the mayors of other cities and towns to discuss including their schools in the project, too.
“The point is to allow the municipality [of Vilnius] to expand the project right away,” Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė said. “As to other municipalities, the education minister has already said that we'll bring in all enthusiasts and try to follow that path throughout Lithuania.”
Karolis Bartkevičius, an adviser to Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius, told BNS that they were considering reopening another three to four schools to primary students starting in mid-March.
The government's lockdown easing plan calls for allowing all primary graders and 12-graders to return to classrooms earlier than all other students.
Under the plan, primary schools will be allowed to resume in-classroom teaching when the number of new infections in the country over the last 14 days falls to below 200 per 100,000 people and the share of positive coronavirus is below 10 percent.
Lithuania's 14-day coronavirus infection rate currently stands at 254.7 per 100,000 people.