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Moscow schools start rolling out ‘flexible attendance’ and remote learning policies to fight coronavirus spread

Source: Meduza
Artyom Geodakyan / TASS / Scanpiz / LETA

On March 14, following a meeting of Russia’s federal coronavirus task force, the Education Ministry advised school officials across the country to transfer students to remote learning “as appropriate.” Later that day, officials in the capital and the Moscow region introduced flexible attendance at public schools in the area.

According to orders issued by Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin, the new attendance policy will be in effect until further notice. “Parents will decide whether or not their child goes to school or stays home. In this case, they know better,” argued Sobyanin. In the meantime, all regular classes at schools will continue normally. Children who elect to stay home and utilize the flexible attendance policy will be transitioned to remote learning.

Officials in the Moscow region have imposed a flexible attendance policy at all public schools and kindergartens, according to Governor Andrey Vorobyov. As in the city, parents and guardians in the Moscow region will decide whether or not to keep their children at home. On Instagram, Governor Vorobyov urged residents “to be very attentive and take the threats posed by the virus seriously.”

On March 13, the authorities also urged private schools in Moscow to suspend operations for two weeks (starting on March 16) or move to remote learning, according to a letter from Isaak Kalina, the head of the city’s Education Department. The news website RBC says 229 private schools received Kalina’s letter. One private school called “Intellect” has reportedly decided to transition all 9th and 11th graders to remote learning, while suspending classes for the rest of the student body. The private “New School” says it will move all students to remote learning.

Several schools at foreign embassies in Moscow, meanwhile, have been advised to enter a two-week quarantine, sources in Moscow’s Health Department told RBC. The recommendations were apparently directed only at schools attended by the children of staff at the embassies of countries heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Story by Alexander Baklanov

Translation by Kevin Rothrock