The Chisinau Mayor’s Office is critical of the proposal made by the Government to shift to partially remote education in case of gas supply cuts during the winter. Deputy Mayor Angela Cutasevici said during an IPN debate dedicated to the start of the school year that the City Hall is investing in energy efficiency for educational buildings, as a return to online classes would be undesirable.
According to a contingency plan proposed by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Regional Development, in the event of a reduction in natural gas supplies by 30% or 50%, in order to reduce gas consumption, educational institutions could operate online 10 days a month. The deputy mayor says that the idea is far from optimal, as the managers of the institutions will heat the spaces anyway.
“Our goal is energy efficiency instead. The managers will adapt the spaces. For example, light bulbs will be changed and replaced with other, more economical bulbs. The windows will be checked and, if necessary, we will intervene urgently to replace them. But as regards the transition to online education 10 days a month, I don’t think it will have a very big economic impact, since the children will be in certain spaces that need to be heated anyway, and their life and health must be a priority”, said Angela Cutasevici.
The deputy mayor says that online classes can have a negative impact on children’s emotional health, and therefore remote education is not a solution. “Even though we have supported families with a digital library, with online lessons, the emotional impact still cannot be quantified. It is possible that in the future we will see negative effects on children’s mental health. That’s why we have to do everything possible to keep the schools open and to identify measures for energy efficiency and energy conservation, so that the education process takes place in the classrooms, with physical presence”, added the deputy mayor.
According to Angela Cutasevici, thanks to development partners, the municipality has already started energy efficiency processes in educational institutions. This includes external insulation of buildings, installation of mechanical ventilation systems with heat recovery, of LED-based interior lighting systems, of photovoltaic power generation systems, of solar thermal systems for hot water and heating and smart metering systems.
“There are already 18 educational institutions that have been rehabilitated within an EBRD/EIB energy efficiency project. But until we get to the stage of selecting other institutions, our course of action is to make internal adjustments in the buildings where possible. We still have 47 beneficiary institutions of the energy efficiency measurement project with UNDP support, where automatic remote metering provides us with economic-financial impact data. So, we are aware of the need to adapt to potential risks, but at the same time the educational process must take place with physical presence”, insisted Angela Cutasevici.