A great controversy preceded the announcement of the opening of schools and the start of the new school year in Idleb, where the expectation for many weeks has been that schools would remain closed and distance learning would go on, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus and its rapid spread in northern Syria. There have been warnings that the first peak of the virus is imminent in those areas.
The decision of the Education Directorate in Idleb Governorate to open schools and welcome students in all classes, as of Sept. 26, 2020, may have come as a surprise to many residents who expected a longer suspension considering the set of precautionary measures, which were announced by the local authorities in Idleb, to prevent the spread of the virus.
While the Idleb Education Directorate assured people that the necessary preventive measures will be taken in order to ensure the safety of the students and staff, some parents welcomed the decision, considering that distance learning has not proved successful in those areas, which suffer exceptionally bad living conditions.
The Idleb Educational Complex supervisor, Abdullah al-Absi, explained in an interview with Alsouria Net that the decision to reopen schools came as a result of an extensive and long study and ongoing discussions by the Idleb Board of Directors.
He added that the board has taken the necessary measures to prevent the spread of the novel virus among students, including social distancing, so that students are two meters apart, noting that the students are divided into groups in order to make distancing measures possible.
Absi talked about continuously disinfecting schools and the provision of face masks and cleaning supplies, in addition to making clean water available, noting that students are required to wear face masks during class.
According to Absi, the district got positive feedback from the parents when the decision to reopen schools was introduced, following months of distance learning, amid students expressing an interest in classroom learning.
The Idleb Education Directorate published photos on its Facebook page over the past two days, depicting the commitment of students to the precautionary measures, including wearing face masks and respecting social distancing in Idleb schools, in addition to the one-student-per-bench policy.
However, some activists on social media commented on the photos, remarking that only a few schools adhered to the precautionary measures, given the difficulty of implementing those due to the huge number of students in Idleb Governorate.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.