Egypt reopens schools for 23 mln students amid anti-coronavirus measures

Egypt officially reopened on Saturday tens of thousands of schools for millions of students across the country to start the new academic year while implementing precautionary measures against the COVID-19.

The plan of the Ministry of Education for the 2020/2021 academic year is based on maintaining social distancing, sufficient ventilation and regular disinfection at schools, while raising awareness of students and parents about the pandemic and necessary precautions.

There will be also temperature checks for students, teachers and visitors before entering schools.

Egypt has about 23 million students in over 56,000 public schools nationwide. Students of each grade will attend school for a specific number of days only, not the whole week.

“Precautionary measures are observed at schools, social distancing is maintained and students of different grades are scheduled to attend in different days,” Reda Hegazy, deputy education minister for teachers affairs, told Xinhua at one of the preparatory schools in Giza.

He explained that there is a new official TV channel to provide classes to students, while teachers at schools will complete the process side by side with the TV classes.

At the gate of a high school near Cairo University, the temperatures of students were checked before they headed to the morning assembly at the school yard, where all students and teachers were seen with medical face masks on.

Nasser Shaaban Shehata, head of South Giza Education Department, said that the new schedule system specifies fewer days for students of each grade to maintain social distancing.

“So, there are more available classrooms and teachers so that each class will not have more than 25 students,” he pointed out.

“Schools also have isolation rooms and some have health inspectors and doctors,” the official told Xinhua, reassuring that the situation is under the ministry’s control.

Schools have been suspended in Egypt since mid-March over COVID-19 concerns.

Amid declining COVID-19 infections and deaths, the country has been easing relevant restrictions over the past three months as part of a coexistence plan to maintain anti-coronavirus precautionary measures while resuming economic activities.

Until Friday night, Egypt has registered 105,159 COVID-19 cases, including 6,099 deaths and 98,089 recoveries.