Turkey to re-open schools on September 21
Turkey plans to re-open schools on Sept. 21 with measures in place to counter the coronavirus after three months of online courses for the new education year, Education Minister Ziya Selçuk said on Aug. 11.
Education will start in the distance learning program on Aug. 31 and it is hoped that a gradual return to classrooms will be possible from Sept. 21, the minister said at a press conference after a meeting with the Health Ministry’s Science Board to discuss measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
“As recommended by the Science Board face-to-face education will begin gradually and in dilution on Sept. 21,” he said.
“When we say gradual and diluted, we mean the priority opening of certain grade levels, the dilution of the lessons and topics, the processing of the content but not in the same hour as opposed to in person,” he stated.
Private schools may start online classes on Aug. 17.
“We will be in the field and in our schools throughout the whole process,” the minister said and stressed that the continuation of face-to-face classes will depend on how responsibly families and students will behave.
The classrooms will be arranged in accordance with social distancing rules and schools provided with disinfectants and masks. Swift measures will be taken if students’ families or nearby circles are diagnosed with coronavirus, he stated.
Selçuk said the decision is based on advice from the scientific committee advising the government, which met on Aug. 12 before the minister’s formal announcement.
Over 2,000 inspectors have been checking standards of schools ahead of the planned reopening, he stated.
Turkish officials are worried as the daily figures rose from around 900 to over 1,000 confirmed cases on Aug. 4 and have not dropped below four digits since then. Last week, Turkey rolled out a new inspection and enforcement rules after daily new coronavirus cases jumped above 1,000 for the first time in three weeks, in what the government called a considerable rise during the peak holiday season.
Schools and universities were shut down in March for around 18 million students along with most public spaces as Turkish authorities rushed to prevent the virus outbreak.
Officials then decided to keep them shut for the rest of the academic year.