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The ombudsman appealed to the Minister regarding children’s wearing masks in schools and other requirements

The ombudsman said he had received complaints from students, their parents, about the announced demand to resume classes in schools on September 15, 2020, and to wear children’s masks in schools.

 

In response to these complaints, as well as concerns on social media, the Human Rights Defender sent a number of questions to the Ministry of Internal Affairs in order to obtain a complete picture of the organization of classes in schools and to monitor the rights of children.

 

First, the Ministry was required to make legal arrangements for wearing masks in schools or other adopted documents, such as those relating to the nature of the requirements and possible exceptions to those requirements.

 

    The main questions sent are:

 

  1. Will the mandatory requirement to wear a mask during school lessons also apply to teachers?

 

2.Who will supervise the observance of the requirement for children, as well as teachers, to wear masks at school? How will this be done, both during classes and during breaks? The same question was asked regarding the observance of other epidemiological rules (hand disinfection, etc.).

 

3.What professional, including pedagogical and medical discussions or studies preceded the definition of the requirement to wear a mask during the lessons? What were the results?

 

4.What international requirements or practices were taken into account when defining the requirement for children to wear masks during classes? Have such studies been carried out?

 

5.Will there be legal consequences for children who do not comply with the requirement to wear a mask? If so, what are the consequences or, for example, the measures of responsibility, to whom exactly will they be applied?

 

6.How will the right to education of children who do not wear a mask or do not comply with the requirement to wear a mask be ensured?

 

7.Will children be provided with masks in schools or will parents be obliged to provide it? In this regard, the Defender notes that it is necessary to pay attention to families with social problems, in particular, given that the classes will be held on a 6-day working basis, as well as the need to change masks with a certain frequency during the day. Will the types of masks that the child wears be taken into account, for example?

 

8.Will there be exceptions to the mandatory requirement to wear a mask during classes based on, for example, the child’s health and medical records? This issue will be resolved by the force of general regulations, whether there are special regulations for children.

 

9.Has the issue of education of children with disabilities been taken into account in the mandatory requirement to wear a mask, for example, in schools providing inclusive education? For example, such a question arises in connection with children with hearing problems, whose communication takes place through sign language, including, more often, through facial expressions.

 

10.How will the breaks be organized?

 

The questions also include questions related to the organization of compliance with other epidemiological rules.

 

Full text in Armenian

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