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Iran begins new school year under strict health protocols


Source: Tehran Times

Over 15 million students attended schools nationwide on Saturday for the new school year under strict health protocols to protect teachers, staff, and students against the coronavirus pandemic. The opening bell of the new academic year was rung symbolically by President Hassan Rouhani at a girls' high school in downtown Tehran.

Students at a school in Tehran, Iran
See more photos by ISNA

Each year, Iranian students start the school year on September 23, which marks the first day of autumn on the Iranian calendar, after a three-month summer vacation, while this year, in the light of the pandemic, the school year was started 18 days earlier.

The back-to-school ceremony is officially inaugurated by the president each year, as he rings the bells in a symbolic gesture at a chosen school.

Mohsen Haji Mirzaei, Education Minister, symbolically attended the virtual festival.

More than 15 million students started the new school year in 116,000 schools across the country, Haji Mirzaei stated.

This year, education is followed in three forms of in-person, virtual, and television-based, but our priority is school attendance, he noted, highlighting, all schools should strictly follow the health regulations so that the students are protected.

Maintaining a shorter duration for classes, the students will sit 35 minutes in each class, he emphasized.

Haji Mirzaei concluded that students have been banned from morning ceremonies and sports activities in schools this year.

Students at a school in Tehran, Iran
See more photos by Mehr News Agency

All educational centers in Iran were closed from late February and reopened on May 16, after almost three months of closures in the wake of the pandemic after a TV announcement by the education minister. The schools also ran the final year exams in the third week of May.

In order for students to keep in touch with their studies, the Ministry of Education launched a homegrown mobile application on April 9, called SHAD, providing students with distance learning programs. He added that more than 60 percent of students and 94 percent of teachers attended 64 percent of classes through the SHAD app, whose acronym in Persian translates as the Students Education Network.

Moreover, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) also began to broadcast televised educational programs on a daily basis after school closures.

Finally, Haji Mirzaei, announced that all schools for the new academic year will start September 5. He said urban and rural schools with high population density will be divided into two groups, with attendance diverted into odd-even days. He added that low-density population areas with lower risk will have a normal routine.

Students at a school in Sanandaj, Iran
See more photos by Islamic Republic News Agency

Universities reopened nationwide

At the beginning of the new academic year, all universities started the new semester in the country under health protocols on Saturday.

However, some courses will be held virtually or a combination of face-to-face and virtual.

Service facilities such as dormitories and other services will be provided to fewer students than the total capacity of the university.

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