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Turkey to reopen schools if daily virus cases keep receding

Turkey to reopen schools if daily virus cases keep receding

Schools across Turkey will reopen on Aug. 31 for the new academic year, the National Education Ministry said Friday.

An orientation will be held for students who will start primary school from Aug. 31 to Sept. 4.

A mid-term break will be held between Nov. 16-20. After the end of the first term on Jan. 22, schools will break on Jan. 25.

The second term will begin on Feb. 8, with a mid-term break on April 12-16. The year will close on June 18, 2021.

Since it lifted most of the lockdown measures last month, Turkey has seen fewer drops in the number of new cases, with daily tolls mostly in the thousands. Although there has been no major increase in the number of new cases or deaths, with thousands of people recovering each day, the country recently accelerated efforts to bring the situation under control.

About half of Turkey’s nearly 230,000 cases and more than 5,600 deaths are in its biggest city, Istanbul, the government says. The capital Ankara and eastern Diyarbakır province have also been hotspots.

One government source said “if the number of cases decreases, all schools will be opened,” but that otherwise, schools in high-infection areas might remain closed.

A second senior official said classes might have to remain online for some southeastern provinces. “The normalization is underway … but the numbers should have fallen faster.”

A primary school teacher based in the southeast said some of her students had not had the means to attend online classes, adding: “Online teaching can never be as efficient as classroom learning.”