Still no government approval for schools to open

We have clear information that: 

1. New COVID-19 cases are falling, since many people in Bishkek have already been infected and are currently immune; 

2. There is very little risk of COVID-19 transmission at school, when windows are open in summertime and students are wearing masks; 

3. Even if children are infected with COVID-19, the risks to them are extremely low, and most show no sign of even being infected; 

4. Remote learning is not very effective for school students, and this is particularly true for weaker and disadvantaged students, who never catch up; 

5. Very sadly, during the remote learning period, there has apparently been a 60% increase in domestic violence and around 38 adolescent suicides in the Kyrgyz Republic; 

6. BIS has written approval from the Ministry of Health to open, provided we follow the strict BIS COVID-19 Protocol to prevent transmission; 

7. BIS has written approval from the Ministry of Education and Science to open, provided we receive written approval from the Local Education Office and Local Sanitary Control. To its great credit, the government has taken account of the much lower risk of COVID-19 in recent weeks and has opened cafes, bazaars, leisure centers, health spas, parks, churches, mosques and public transport, despite the lack of real COVID-19 transmission controls, with many people not wearing masks or social distancing. To our surprise, the government has not allowed the Local Education Office or Local Sanitary Control to give BIS approval to open, as a government decree forces all schools to close, except for classes up to local Grade 1. It is very difficult to understand why our school cannot open, since all of the publicly available information indicates that we should be open. Therefore, we can only assume that the government has some other unknown ‘internal information’ that provides reasons for keeping schools closed. We are very thankful to government for their great wisdom in keeping us safe, based on their ‘internal information’. However, our lack of knowledge of this important ‘internal information’ makes it impossible to predict when the government might change their decision, therefore we have to continue with remote learning for the foreseeable future. As a legal and law-abiding school, which does not pay bribes to government officials, but paid 27 million SOM in official government taxes and social fund payments in 2019, we await the next wise decisions of government with great interest. 

David Grant, Head of School