Government working on different plans for school reopening: Minister
Authorities are making preparations for the reopening of schools on Aug. 31 as planned, but four different plans are also considered, Education Minister Ziya Selçuk has said.
“The decision on when schools should reopen has become a ‘national issue.’ We are consulting with doctors on a weekly basis and we are ready for the reopening. However, we are also working on four different scenarios,” Selçuk said in an interview with private broadcaster CNN Türk.
The public should be confident that the decision to resume education will be based on best judgement. “If there are risks and there is no solid data, we will not take any decision either way,” he added.
The first scenario is going ahead with the original plan to reopen schools nationwide on Aug. 31, Selçuk said, adding that its alternative is to keep schools closed and continue with online classes.
“Under another scenario, classes may take place in certain days of the week, students take turns in attending classes, and reducing school hours. Some classes may be taught at schools while other classes online,” the minister added.
Alternatively, some measures could be taken in provinces where there are outbreak-related risks, while schools remain open in other parts of the country, according to Selçuk.
“No concrete decision has yet been taken, those are all different scenarios under consideration,” he said.
Selçuk also noted that pandemic boards have been set up in every school, which are in charge of overseeing the proper implementation of hygiene rules at buildings, classrooms and on school buses.
“Those boards are made up of deputy principals, teachers and officials from the local health authority,” the minister detailed.
Free washable face masks will be distributed to students and teachers, according to Selçuk.
“Those masks, which meet the standards set by the Health Ministry, are produced by vocational schools. Those masks will not be distributed only once a year but when needed. There is no shortage of masks,” he said.
Pupils will be made aware of the use of face mask through activities, which will vary depending on their age.
“This awareness will be developed via games. There is list of ‘contactless games’ and this sort of activities will also take place in high schools,” Selçuk added.