Turkey will return to face-to-face learning once the new semester begins, the country’s health minister announced on Wednesday.
“I would like to express clearly and loudly that all our schools will open on time. It is impossible for us to give up face-to-face education,” Fahrettin Koca said following a virtual meeting of the Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board.
“Regardless of the conditions, we will continue our hands-on and face-to-face education by protecting our students,” he added.
During the transition period for school-based education, Turkey has an “important job,” he said, explaining that the ministry will implement measures that will lead to the vaccination of all teachers and lecturers.
Koca highlighted the importance of vaccination and said it “should become an indispensable rule so that education and work-life are not interrupted, and those who are not vaccinated should regularly show negative PCR test results.”
The minister went on to say that especially the parents of the students will either complete their vaccinations or have to have their children checked regularly that they do not have any diseases.
The details of this process will be announced later, Koca said.
Koca underscored that Turkey has not achieved “herd immunity” yet and it cannot be obtained without “at least two doses of vaccine.”
“Anyone who has not been vaccinated for at least two doses should not think they have been vaccinated,” he said.
People who have received all three doses of inactivated vaccines have “the highest level of protection,” he stated.
“The closest protection level to this is in our people who have received two doses of an inactivated vaccine and got a third shot of mRNA vaccine,” he said.
Earlier on Wednesday, Koca announced that Turkey has administered over 80 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since it launched a mass vaccination campaign in January.
On Twitter, he said more than 50% of the population aged 18 and over have been fully vaccinated.
Over 42.85 million people have received their first doses, while over 31.02 million have been fully vaccinated, according to the Health Ministry data.