Regarding the increase in Omicron cases, Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer said, “As of now, it is not on our agenda to take a break from face-to-face education.” said.
In his evaluation, Minister of National Education Mahmut Özer stated that the increase in Omicron cases in the world brought up the discussions about the continuation of face-to-face education in Turkey as well.
Expressing that he has taken a determined stance to open schools to face-to-face education since the day he took office, Özer underlined that as of September 6, they successfully continued face-to-face education at all grades and grade levels, 5 days a week.
Expressing that they now know how to keep schools open and safe with the support of the Ministry of Health and the Science Board of the Ministry of Health, Özer said: “In the system we developed, we managed the classroom-based process, we only took a 10-day break from face-to-face education at the classroom level by following cases and close contacts. So far, the process has been quite successful. For about 4 months, we have been able to continue training 5 days a week without interruption. In this process, the number of classes closed in schools was well below 1 percent in total. Today, face-to-face education has been suspended in only our 1524 classrooms. Considering that we have 850 thousand classrooms, this figure is quite low.”
“The rate of teachers who had at least two doses of vaccine increased to 94 percent”
Expressing that their biggest advantage in this process is the high rate of vaccination of teachers, Özer said, “Our rate of teachers who have at least one dose of vaccine is 93 percent, and our rate of teachers who have at least two doses of vaccine is 89 percent as of today. 5 percent. Therefore, the rate of teachers who received at least two doses of vaccine and created antibodies reached 94 percent.” gave the information.
Noting that the rate of teachers who get the third and fourth doses of vaccines is constantly increasing, Özer said, “As of today, the rate of teachers who have received at least 3 doses of vaccine has also increased to 36 percent. Vaccination rates of our teachers are well above the average of our country, as well as the rates of teachers in most developed countries. On the other hand, the vaccination rates of our students are constantly increasing.” made its assessment.
“Schools are the last places to be closed”
Stating that he frequently states that schools are the first places to be opened and the last to be closed, Özer said, "I find the discussions that the schools should suspend face-to-face education when new variants appear, out of place." said.
Expressing that they have closely experienced that schools are not just a learning environment in this process, Özer said: “While all countries try to take all kinds of measures to keep schools open by tightening the measures outside of school environments, we are equally determined. However, we should give more weight to measures outside of school. Therefore, as of now, it is not on our agenda to take a break from face-to-face education. Of course, we follow the process closely. We attach more importance to masks, distance and hygiene in schools.”