Top court decrees special needs children programmes to resume in-person
Ljubljana - The Constitutional Court has stayed the implementation of the decree prohibiting gatherings in institutions implementing programmes for children with special needs, and ordered that the government enable such programmes to resume in-person as of 4 January.
The country's top court said in the decisions published on Wednesday that the government needed to adopt without undue delay a regulatory framework for schools and institutes for for children with special needs to be actually open as of 4 January.
This does not mean, though, that these institutions need to work in the same scope and in the same manner as they had before the Covid-19 epidemic, the court said, noting that this had not been demanded by the appellant itself.
"Such a decision does not mean that the opening necessarily relates to all institutions, of the expected possibility of spreading of infection is, in the opinion of experts, considerably increased and represents a higher risk."
This relates to dormitories for primary and secondary school pupils, the court said, adding that the plans for the opening need to take into account the opinion of the Covid-19 advisory group of the Health Ministry.
The opinion says that the opening should be done on an individual basis with consideration of the diagnoses of children with special needs, whether they are also accommodated in the institution, and based on their individual needs and expectations of parents.
Education Minister Simona Kustec said that the decision had been expected, and that it coincided with the ongoing plan for the priority return of children to schools, to which schools had already been prepared.
Kustec is happy that the Constitutional Court judges have emphasised all aspects of the matter, which the ministry has also been pointing to while planning a safe return of children to school in cooperation with health and education experts.
"We are actually fully ready for the gradual return to schools. Not only from the aspect of organisation and adjustment of work, in particular for special needs children, but also in the sense that we will be able to rapid-test all employees."
Staying the implementation of the decree, the court will now review the constitutionality of the decree stipulating distance learning also for children with special needs, as it accepted a relevant initiative from concerned citizens.