Students in public kindergartens and nursery schools in several provinces across Turkey will be attending classes online as of Monday, in a step meant to help further stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Istanbul, the country’s most populated city and the worst-hit from coronavirus pandemic, was the first to announce the closure of preschool institutes.
Remote education in preschools will start on Dec.1 and run until Jan. 4, the governor's office said on Twitter late Saturday evening, where it shared a statement regarding details of the decision.
Regarding the basis for the move to online platforms, the office's official statement said: "Many cautionary decisions have been made and implemented to reduce the risk of the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic in terms of public health and public order management, providing social isolation, maintaining physical distance and controlling the spread of the disease in order to follow the recommendations of the Scientific Committee of the Ministry of Health and the instructions of our president."
Soon after Istanbul, governorates of Bursa, Kırklareli and Zonguldak announced similar moves to online classes on Sunday.
Turkey initially closed schools for all students on Nov. 17, when President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan unveiled the reintroduction of several restrictions as the country faced a rapid rise in coronavirus cases.
However, the Education Ministry reversed its decision to shut down preschools three days later, after hundreds of thousands of working parents voiced concern over how to look after their children.
The Education Ministry had said that preschools would continue face-to-face education with six 30-minute activity hours for the children.
The opponents of the decision, however, warned of small children's inability to abide by social distancing rules and mask-wearing.
Following the decisions by governorates, the public preschools will remain closed for the duration of the week, with the situation set to be reassessed before they are allowed to reopen.
Private preschools will remain open, however, with the Education Ministry expected to announce a similar decision for them.
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