Kindergartens across Armenia reopened on Wednesday following the lifting of virtually all coronavirus-related restrictions imposed by the government two months ago.
The government last week allowed them to resume their work while deciding to keep the country’s schools and universities closed. It said this will help many parents of young children return to work.
The government at the same time set specific safety rules for the state-run and private kindergartens. Under those rules, the parents must leave children at the entrance to pre-school institutions and are not allowed to enter them under any circumstances.
Kindergarten staff must not only ensure the parents’ compliance with these requirements but also measure children’s temperatures twice a day, minimize physical contact with and among them, and disinfect and ventilate their premises on a daily basis.
“We have drawn lines for the parents so that they observe social distancing,” said Gayane Khudoyan, a nurse at the Kindergarten No. 5 located in the center of Yerevan. “The last line is the point of separation of a parent and a child. The parent must stand there while I measure the kid’s temperature. If the kid has a fever we will immediately send them home.”
Most parents appear to have been unconvinced by these precautions so far. Only eight children were brought to Khudoyan’s kindergarten in the morning.
Another kindergarten located in the city’s western Davitashen district reported on Wednesday an attendance rate of 10 percent. More than 400 children are enrolled in it.
The Armenian authorities began lifting their lockdown restrictions in mid-April despite a growing number of coronavirus cases recorded by them.
The Ministry of Health reported on Wednesday morning at least 3 more deaths and 230 new COVID-19 infections which brought to 5,271 the total number of confirmed cases in the country of about 3 million.
The official death toll from the virus thus reached 67. The figure does not cover the deaths of 27 other people infected with COVID-19. The ministry claims that those deaths were primarily caused by other, pre-existing illnesses.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian on Tuesday expressed serious concern over the continuing rapid spread of the virus. He warned that the authorities may have to “re-impose the strictest possible restrictions” soon.