Turkey introduces ‘clean school’ project as students set to return to schools
As schools across Turkey grapple with bringing children back into the classroom on Sept. 21, the Education Ministry has introduced a “clean school” project, along with a string of efforts to take precautionary measures against any potential outbreak of COVID-19 at school.
The project will ensure hygiene rules are followed strictly in schools, where inspections will be carried out frequently. Schools that adhere to anti-coronavirus rules well will be widely recognized as “clean.”
“We have carried out simulations on what to do on Sept. 21 when the class bells ring,” Selçuk said during a speech at a ceremony for the “My School is Clean” project.
Selçuk said that some 2,000 inspectors will perform checks in schools, while stressing that the ministry has detected what each school needs or lacks.
“We want schools to self-evaluate. Our planning is ready for every possible scenario,” he said.
“We are sure that the more we care about our students’ health, the more their parents will trust the schools,” he added.
Selçuk added that even though schools obtain the “clean school” recognition, sustainability is important.
“The school’s one-time hygiene is not enough, it should be continuous,” Selçuk said, stressing that schools will be checked to see if they continue to carry out measures.
“We are trying to promote the cleanliness of schools and a health hygiene inspection,” he said.
Selçuk also added that the ministry has been carrying out works to “continuously” keep the schools clean.
“We also prepared a software to monitor this,” he said.
The ministry will not only tell the schools what they are lacking, but also will help them meet these conditions, the minister said.
“The supply of disinfectants and masks are on the table as well,” he added.
Discussions with Science Board ongoing
Selçuk also said that the ministry is working in coordination with other institutions and ministries and has also been discussing the re-opening of schools with the Science Board.
“We are trying to open schools on Sept. 21 and we are discussing what we will win or lose if schools are not opened with the Science Board,” he said.
Selçuk also said that there will be a reduction in the material of the national curriculum.
“If they tell us that there will be no risks at certain phases, then we will open [the schools] during those phases,” he said.
On distant education, the minister said that there are regions that lack the necessary infrastructure and the ministry is working on plans for those regions.
Last week, Selçuk said that Turkey will reopen schools on Sept. 21 with measures in place to counter the coronavirus and that students will return to classrooms gradually and in phases.
The new school year will commence nationwide on Aug. 31 with classes held remotely.
Private schools may start online classes from Aug. 17.
Schools across the country were closed in mid-March as part of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.