Face-to-face education continuing as planned: Minister

Face-to-face education continuing as planned: Minister

Face-to-face education continuing as planned: Minister

Face-to-face education in Turkey’s schools continues as planned, the country’s education minister has said, adding that the pandemic is not disrupting in-person classes.

The new school year for more than 18 million students and some 1.2 million teachers started on Sept. 6 under strict anti-virus rules after nearly an 18-month break.

“There are 850,000 classrooms in Turkey’s schools, and since the start of the new academic year, face-to-face education has been suspended in only 198 of them due to COVID-19 cases,” Minister Mahmut Özer said on Sept. 13, noting that no school so far has closed altogether.

He also said that students were not required to take PCR tests or get vaccinated.

Last week, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said that random PCR testing of students would be conducted at schools.

“No tests will be conducted without parents’ consent. The Health Ministry will release details of random PCR testing in the coming days,” Özer noted.

Earlier, Özer said that the rules set by the Health Ministry and Education Ministry for in-person education were similar to those implemented in Europe and other countries.

As part of the rules in place, unvaccinated teachers and school staff are required to take PCR tests twice a week, while parents and visitors will not be allowed to enter schools unless necessary.

Classes are held in 40-minute periods at most, and breaks and meals are scheduled for different intervals to avoid crowding.

About 77 percent of teachers have received their two doses of the COVID-19 vaccines, while more than 90 percent of them have received at least one dose of the jab, Koca said last week, adding that COVID-19 has infected around 4.4 percent of teachers.

‘Risks from pandemic remain’

Koca took to Twitter on Sept. 12 to warn the public that “the risks are continuing.”

“The cause of deaths is the spread of the virus due to negligence. We must have our full dose of vaccination on time and comply with the measures regularly,” the minister wrote.

To date, Turkey has administered more than 102 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, with over 40 million people having fully vaccinated and close to 52 million having received their first dose of the jab.

Trials of Turkey’s domestic COVID-19 vaccine will also be conducted in Kyrgyzstan, Vice President Fuat Oktay announced.

Oktay, who paid a visit to Kyrgyzstan last week, said Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov had given his nod for phase 3 trials of the TURKOVAC jab in the Central Asian country.

“Negotiations are also ongoing with many countries, particularly Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Argentina, Colombia and Poland, for Phase 3 trials of our vaccine,” he said.