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In-person education in Turkey may face restrictions amid pandemic

In-person education in Turkey may face restrictions amid pandemic

“It is difficult with these numbers,” says professor Yeşim Taşova, commenting on the resumption of in-person classes as Turkey strives to reopen schools for all grades.

Though daily coronavirus cases occasionally decrease, the pandemic lingers on and continues to pose a lethal threat.

Taşova, a member of Turkey’s Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board, which shapes all government policies on fighting the outbreak, says the board is considering new restrictions for in-person education – except classes for kindergarten students and first graders.

On Sept. 21, the country’s first in-person classes were launched for them in what will be a critical test for authorities in light of the ongoing pandemic.

The country plans to gradually ensure a return to school for millions of students in the coming weeks, based on the course of progress.

Strict measures aimed at preventing further infections are expected to allow for further reopening following the closure of schools since March. Fearing a serious gap in education, Turkey decided to join other countries for a reopening that was originally scheduled for Aug. 31. A heightened caseload, however, forced a postponement until Sept. 21.

The reopening week saw kindergarten and first-grade students arrive for just one day and two days of classes the following. Meanwhile, the number of students in each classroom has been reduced with separate school hours for students. Every class lasts only 30 minutes, with 10-minute breaks in between. All older grades are continuing courses online.

Education has been a major casualty of the pandemic, with experts repeatedly calling for conditions to prevail to allow for the resumption of in-person classes.