Czech President Miloš Zeman signs bills on quarantine voting, distance learning into law

People in quarantine will be allowed to vote in upcoming elections, and distance learning will be mandatory for students in times of crises

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 21.08.2020 14:45 (updated on 21.08.2020)

Prague, Aug 21 (CTK) – President Miloš Zeman has signed a bill enabling people in COVID-19 quarantine to vote in the autumn Senate and regional elections in the Czech Republic, as well as an amendment to the school law to codify distance learning as a regular method, his spokesman has announced.

The new election legislation will enable those in mandatory quarantine to vote from a car at special points or use a system of special commissions that will come to their homes with a portable ballot box. It also deals with special polling points at health and social care facilities under quarantine.

The opportunity for special voting will only apply to those who would be in quarantine or isolation imposed on them by a public health authority or a doctor.

The Chamber of Deputies added a provision to the bill, explicitly stating that going to elections would not mean the quarantine violation. The Senate passed the bill without changes.

Those under preventive protective measures, on return from abroad for example, will see their right to vote unrestricted and will be able to cast their ballots at the polling station in their home election ward.

The new school amendment makes distance learning mandatory for students as part of their compulsory school attendance. It does not define any form of distance learning, but says schools should adapt it to the conditions and possibilities of each of their students.

It reacts to the COVID-19 epidemic, due to which schools were closed from mid-March. They started partly opening in May and June, when many pupils preferred to remain on distance learning until the end of the school year on June 30. The new school year starts on September 1.

Under the legislation, schools are obliged to launch distance learning during crises, in accordance with the emergency law, if schools are closed by order of the Health Ministry or a public health authority. It should not apply only to the coronavirus epidemic, but to various crises that might occur, such as natural disasters.

The Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Czech parliament, passed both government bills in accelerated procedure in the state of legislative emergency on August 19. The Senate, the upper house, approved them on August 20.