Turkey will resume face-to-face learning five days a week beginning Sept. 6, the nation’s education minister said Thursday.
Mahmut Ozer said the country wants to continue full-time face-to-face learning unless health conditions dictate otherwise.
"Education in schools will be carried out without reducing class hours while being committed to the entire existing curriculum," said Ozer.
He said the vaccination rate for teachers who received at least one dose of a two-shot vaccine is 80.34% as of Wednesday, and the rate is 69.73% for a second jab.
Ozer also said vaccinations will not be mandatory but necessary measures will be taken by the Health Ministry.
School administrations will provide masks to students and school personnel free of charge in case anyone needs them.
Turkey has administered more than 87 million COVID-19 vaccine doses since launching a mass immunization campaign in January.
According to the Health Ministry, the country confirmed 19,320 new infections and 216 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, while as many as 14,743 more patients recovered.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced that PCR tests, which will be mandatory for unvaccinated teachers, staff, and university students when academic activities resume Sept. 6, will be conducted for free at public hospitals.
Since December 2019, the pandemic has claimed more than 4.39 million lives in 192 countries and regions, with an excess of 209.67 million cases reported worldwide, according to US-based Johns Hopkins University,