Only days before the new academic year begins, the Education Ministry has announced the countrywide reopening of schools but ordered regions on coronavirus red alert to move classes online until further notice.
“Excluding regions with high numbers of Covid-19 cases, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, all schools will start the new school year with in-person learning,” Education Minister Mohsen Haji-Mirzaei was quoted as saying by ISNA.
“Some 35% of nationwide classes, where social distancing is possible, will return to normal while following safety rules,” Haji-Mirzaei added, noting that other education centers will require the presence of students on alternate days to curb the spread of virus transmission.
As of Monday, 13 of Iran’s 31 provinces, including Tehran, home to the country’s capital, are in a “red” state. Starting Saturday, only regions tagged as red by the National Coronavirus Taskforce will not allow the physical return of students to schools.
Iranian schools were closed for nearly four months during the last academic year as the coronavirus outbreak began its relentless spread across the country, prompting the Education Ministry to find alternative methods to keep learning alive.
Acknowledging insufficient technological resources, Haji-Mirzaei said educational content will be broadcast on television to reach students without the means to attend online classes.
“Even if students do not have access to television, we will prepare learning packages and pursue education via contact with teachers,” he added.
Students with access to the internet can acquire educational material via the Education Ministry’s application, Shad, which was launched to connect students and educators in the last semester.
Virus Infections Drop
Iran’s daily count of coronavirus cases dropped to 1,642 on Monday, the lowest tally in over three months, taking the nationwide total to 375,000, Health Ministry’s Spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari was quoted as saying by ISNA.
Within a 24-hour period, the deadly virus claimed the lives of 109 patients, pushing Iran’s death toll to 21,571, Lari said.
As many as 327,000 have recovered and over 3,700 are in critical conditions and hospitalized in intensive care units.
President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday ordered the Health Ministry to purchase the Covid-19 vaccine from countries successful at developing it as soon as possible, and verify its effectiveness before widespread vaccinations.
Several local knowledge-based companies are also attempting to develop vaccines to immunize the population against the respiratory illness.
Iran’s laboratories have administered over 3.2 million tests to track down infected individuals.
Global Covid-19 cases rose past 25.4 million on Monday and fatalities surpassed 852,000.