Schools in Turkey reopen with limited in-class lessons

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Turkey is reopening schools that remained physically closed for months due to the COVID-19 outbreak, under strict rules and limited student attendance.

The country launched the new academic year as of Aug. 31 with remote learning through national broadcaster TRT’s Education Information Network (EBA) channels and live courses, but decided to reopen schools only for preschool and first graders.

Under the new scheme, preschool students and first graders will take face-to-face classes only one day a week between Sept. 21 and Sept. 25.

The class attendance for those students are not mandatory. Parents are allowed not to send their children to school without submitting any written application, but those pupils will follow classes online.

School managements together with teachers will decide which day face-to-face lessons will take place. Preschool and first graders will attend five classes on those days.

Depending on the schools’ capacities, students may be divided into two groups to take one-day classes on different days of the week.

Students will be strictly supervised during the breaks to make sure that they follow social distancing.

In the following weeks starting Sept. 28, those students will attend face-to-face lessons two days a week.

No visitors will be allowed to schools. Students will be informed about the hygiene and social distancing rules. Also, activities will be organized to help children cope with fear and anxiety. Books have been prepared to make students have a better grasp of the idea of wearing face masks, hygiene and social distancing. Those books contain some 60 games to play outdoors and in classrooms.

“Preparations for face-to-face learning have been completed,” Education Minister Ziya Selçuk said in a written statement.

Necessary disinfection works have been carried out at all schools, and hygiene and other disinfectant products have been supplied, Selçuk added.

Schools have also been supplied with thermometers to be used when needed.

Over the next three weeks, students will be distributed free face masks, produced by vocational education institutions and community education centers.

School bus drivers in all provinces have been trained and informed about the new rules regarding commuting children.

The Education Ministry and Health Ministry have established a warning mechanism. Directors of schools will be informed immediately when a risk emerges stemming from students, teachers, other staff and bus drivers. Directors will follow the protocol as indicated in the guide prepared by the Health Ministry and take necessary precautions.

Hurriyet Daily News

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