Pro-government commentators are confident that schools can be reopened safely. A left-wing columnist, on the other hand, doubts if schools have the capacity to maintain social distancing and hygiene rules.
Background information: the government announced that classroom teaching will start on 1 September, as low infection rates in Hungary do not necessitate the suspension of classroom teaching. Schools, however, should follow strict protocols to avoid new breakouts of the pandemic. On Friday, Prime Minister Orbán announced that from the beginning of September stricter restrictions will be introduced on Hungary’s southern borders to prevent the introduction of the coronavirus from countries already hit hard by the second wave of the pandemic.
Magyar Nemzet’s Dávid Megyeri is confident that students, parents and teaching staff will observe health regulations and thus the reopening of schools will be a success story. The pro-government commentator thinks that the current situation will strengthen the sense of duty among young pupils to always bear in mind the needs and interests both of others and of their communities.
Magyar Demokrata editor-in-chief András Bencsik also thinks that the success of the reopening of schools depends on the willingness of the public to observe social distancing and other regulations. The conservative columnist emphasises that the reopening of schools is essential for economic growth as parents cannot work if their kids stay at home. As Hungarians have complied with the emergency regulations so far, Bencsik is hopeful that the resumption of classroom education will not unleash another wave of the coronavirus epidemic.
In Népszava, Erika Gulyás doubts that schools can implement proper social distancing and hygiene regulations. The left-wing commentator points out that schools simply do not have the room capacity to split classes into two – one of many measures recommended by the Ministry of Human Resources. Therefore, Gulyás speculates, many parents would prefer to keep their children at home and sign them up for distance learning. Gulyás also criticizes the government for working out protocols for online teaching just in case schools need to close again due to a second coronavirus wave in Hungary.