Schools are set to reopen in less than one month in Turkey, as the country continues its struggle against the coronavirus pandemic. Turkey has put all measures in place to ensure the safety of students, officials assure the public. Yet, many concerns remain for parents. The Minister of National Education, Ziya Selçuk said students will not be forced to attend schools in person. Speaking in a televised interview to broadcaster NTV on Saturday night, Selçuk said they did not consider “mandatory attendance for all students in principle.”
“It is not right to force students to attend in-person classes if himself or herself or a member of their families suffer from health problems. The work is underway to eliminate any penalty for not attending,” Selçuk said.
Turkey on Monday will launch online classes for millions of students before the reopening of schools on Sept. 21. The government issued a set of guidelines for measures against the outbreak at schools, from utmost attention to hygiene to social distancing inside classrooms and mandatory masks for students and teachers. It is not clear yet how schools will adapt to the new normal, but Selçuk said earlier that they may change school hours and reduce them based on the state of each school to prevent overcrowding.
Selçuk said that the first week of school will be without classes and will be a period for students’ adaptation to the new environment. “They will be taught about the pandemic and how they should behave to avoid infection,” he said.
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