Face mask mandate lifted for millions of students
Mandatory use of protective face masks is no longer required for millions of students and teachers in Turkey, as the government eased measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in a historic move on April 26.
“We have lifted the requirement to use a face mask indoors for all of our 18 million students and teachers at all levels from preschool institutions to primary schools, secondary schools and high schools,” Education Minister Mahmut Özer said during a visit to the Black Sea province of Bartın.
He thanked 1.2 million teachers for one of the highest rates of vaccination against COVID-19 compared to other OECD countries.
“In this period, normalization of Turkey was closely related to keeping the schools open to face-to-face education. Our firm stand has made easier and accelerated the normalization process in Turkey,” he added.
Erol Özvar, the head of the Council of Higher Education (YÖK), also announced that the indoor face mask mandate was lifted in accordance with the decisions of the Science Board and the government.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, meanwhile, tweeted a photograph of a student wearing a mask, saying, “Let’s take our souvenir photos. Face mask requirement at schools is scrapped.”
“Face masks should be worn while on public transport and inside health institutions until daily case numbers drop below 1,000,” he added.