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With Turkey set to reopen schools, educators and health experts urge caution amid pandemic

Turkey will resume widescale face-to-face education March 1 as some educators and health experts warn premature normalization measures could spur a rise in coronavirus cases.
Students wearing protective face masks attend a lesson at a private school in Ankara, on February 15, 2021, amid the crisis linked with the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Adem ALTAN / AFP) (Photo by ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images)

ISTANBUL — About half of Turkey’s 18 million school-aged students are expected to resume face-to-face education March 1 as schools reopen for the first time since a two-month session in the fall. The move comes amid broader normalization efforts by the Turkish government to phase out of the coronavirus restrictions in low-risk areas amid an ongoing vaccination campaign.

Turkish Education Minister Ziya Selcuk announced the decision Feb. 24 while receiving his first shot of the Chinese-made CoronaVac vaccine during a ceremony marking the launch of an inoculation drive for the nation’s 1.25 million school workers.

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