Safety of Educational Process in Tbilisi Public Schools during Coronavirus Pandemic
On February 22-25, 2021, the Public Defender’s Office monitored 21 public schools of Tbilisi, in order to check the readiness of educational institutions for the educational process in the context of the pandemic and to identify the safety needs.
The monitoring revealed a lot of challenges, the prevention and elimination of which is important for ensuring the safety of the educational process. It should be noted that the inspected schools largely meet the necessary conditions for the virus prevention, however, some problems were identified with sanitation-hygiene, infrastructure, access to drinking water, toilet arrangement and distance protection. In some of the inspected schools it is necessary to put the sanitary system and infrastructure in order so that to make it possible to properly observe the hygienic norms.
It was found that out of the 21 schools monitored, only one school had conducted a microbiological examination on the safety of drinking water throughout 2020-2021. In addition, children mostly bring drinking water with plastic bottles from home or get it from the school toilets. The Public Defender of Georgia believes that it is necessary to mobilize financial and administrative resources to make safe drinking water accessible to students in all schools.
It is important that there is no hot water in some public schools and students have to wash their hands with cold water during the coronavirus pandemic. Hot water was fully accessible only in 8 of the inspected schools.
It is not possible to maintain a distance between children in school corridors or classrooms during breaks; distance is not maintained in the teachers’ room either. It is therefore critical that public schools review the current distance protection system and take adequate measures to enable distance protection at school entrances and corridors, as well as in classrooms.
According to the Public Defender of Georgia, in order for the employees of the school to perform their competencies and functions effectively, they should be fully informed of issues relating to the safety and school arrangement during the pandemic.
On March 10, 2021, the Public Defender of Georgia addressed the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Georgia relating to the main challenges identified in terms of safety of educational process and safe physical environment in Tbilisi public schools during the coronavirus pandemic.
 Monitoring was carried out in LEPL Tbilisi public schools No 151, No 98, No 122, No 155, No 100, No 21, No 129, No 14, No 4, No 6, No 118, No 171, No 161, No 162, No 61, No 115, No 32, No 90, No 179, No 176, No 138.