Egypt exerts utmost effort to maintain in-person classes amid coronavirus pandemic (Photos: Ahram)
Schools in Egypt’s 27 Egyptian governorates have opened their gates to students for daily attendance, with the state exerting its utmost effort to maintain in-person classes after adopting a virtual education system for the past year and a half due to the pandemic.
With attendance obligatory for all students from the first day of school, students were seen wearing face masks during morning assemblies and maintaining social distancing.
Tackling parent’s concerns, the education ministry has assured that all sanitisation tools are available in schools and almost all teachers and administrative employees have been vaccinated.
This comes as part of a mandatory vaccination campaign the state has launched for all those above 18 years of age in the education sector, including university students, staffers, and instructors.
In crowded schools, the school day will be divided into shifts, Minister of Education Tarek Shawky said.
Schools nationwide have thermometers and rooms for isolation and are also equipped with sanitisation gates.
Inspection committees will be visiting schools to ensure coronavirus preventive measures and other education standards are consistently applied, the minister added.
All those in charge of the education process in Cairo have received the coronavirus vaccine, Governor Khaled Abdel-Aal said on Sunday.
Abdel-Aal said the capital has around 5,624 schools, including 2,900 public ones, comprising about 2.5 million students.
The governor affirmed that the state has taken all measures required to protect the students’ health, including vaccinating all those in charge of the education sector in Cairo to provide the maximum level of safety for students.
Until earlier this month, up to 70-80 percent of school staffers nationwide have already received the vaccine, Health Minister Hala Zayed said in a press conference on Monday.
The health ministry is also considering including high school students — who are younger than 18 years old — in the country's vaccination plan.
Universities and high institutes also started a new academic year on Saturday amid strict coronavirus restrictions during in-person classes.
In a joint press conference on Saturday, Minister of Higher Education Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar said 3 million students have returned to public and private Egyptian universities nationwide.
He said the country has vaccinated more than a million higher education students and will vaccinate the rest within a few days.
During the conference, Cairo University President Mohamed El-Khosht said the university has implemented all preventive measures against the coronavirus in all faculties and at the highest levels.
He said the university has allocated 19 clinics for vaccination purposes.
Abdel-Ghaffar stated in late September that only vaccinated students will be allowed to live in university dorms.
The rate of vaccination among university staffers stands at 90 percent, while around 35 percent of university students have received jabs, Zayed said in a press conference on Monday.
Zayed also affirmed her determination to continue the academic year, arguing that the high vaccination turnout among students, workers, and employees in the education sector will be a helpful factor.
Abdel-Ghaffar, however, has said in recent televised remarks that the ministry has an alternative plan to move to a hybrid system of remote learning and in-person classes to handle any possible surges in infections.
The education ministry also announced procedures to be taken in case coronavirus cases were detected inside classrooms, including possible closures of a classroom, school, school complex, and even schools in a governorate or a village, according to the scale of infections.