ANKARA, Turkey – Educational institutions in Turkey reopened for in-person classes on Monday after a long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and attendance was high on the first day in the capital Ankara.
While some parents still seemed worried about sending their children to school due to the still raging COVID-19 pandemic, many were relieved at the return to face-to-face education.
“It has been very difficult with online education, both for us and for the children, it is a relief that schools are welcoming students again,” Nedret Yavuzalp, a business manager at Xinhua, told Xinhua. a business in the backyard of a private school located in Cankaya. district.
A festive atmosphere reigned in this school as the students attended classes on the first day of the fall semester. Staff ensured the wearing of masks and social distancing, while only students were allowed to enter the building.
“Education is something that cannot be left behind, the children have already wasted very precious time at home, now is the time to get back to normal,” Yavuzalp said after dropping his son from 14 years old.
Students will go to school five days a week as before the coronavirus outbreak.
Return to in-person education involves approximately 18 million students and over one million staff. Universities across Turkey have also reopened.
First graders and preschoolers began in-person education for a few hours a day last week on an orientation program to welcome them into schools.
In-person education has been severely disrupted by the pandemic, which has forced authorities to shift first to distance learning courses and then to a hybrid education model with online and face-to-face classes for some classes. offered together.
New official guidelines announced last month recommend full vaccination for parents, teachers, education staff, school bus drivers and canteen workers.
Turkey lowered COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to 12 on Sunday, a move that is primarily aimed at preventing contagion in schools, the health ministry said.
During this time, unvaccinated teachers and other school staff would be required to regularly provide negative PCR test results in order to undergo in-person training.
The same will be true for those unvaccinated for intercity bus travel, flights, and attending crowded events in cinemas, concert halls and theaters.
“In our school, there are no unvaccinated staff, everyone here is fully vaccinated, this is something that is close to our hearts,” said Zeynep Akinci, education expert at the private establishment.
Professor Selma Metintas, a member of the Ministry of Health’s scientific advisory board on the coronavirus, said distance education was not “sustainable”. “We have to trust the facts provided by scientific studies. Education is people’s most basic need, as vital as food. Schools are the second most important place of socialization after home, ”the doctor told the private Ihlas news agency.
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