Bangladesh has announced that it will extend the closure of educational institutions for a further 14-day stretch, a straight 11-month shutdown of in-person education after the first COVID-19 case was registered in the country in March last year, a senior official confirmed on Sunday.
The Education Ministry has decided to close all educational institutions until Feb. 28, except for Islamic seminaries due to the coronavirus pandemic, Mohammad Abul Khayer, a communication officer at the ministry confirmed to Anadolu Agency.
The ministry is taking all important steps to keep students safe from the deadly virus, Khayer said.
The country closed all educational institutions to in-person education when the first case of COVID-19 was registered on March 8 last year and since then the closure has continued.
The Education Ministry has already sent directives to educational institutions and local authorities to take the required arrangements, along with measures to protect students' and teachers' health, so that when the COVID-19 situation improves, they can implement the government's decision to open all institutions at any time, according to a ministry circular.
The government will begin an immunization drive for school teachers in the coming week as a step to resuming in-person education soon, Education Minister Dipu Moni said last week at a Safe Back to School event.
Moni also said her government is working to reopen campuses, maybe in March if the pandemic situation improves.
And the government will not take any health risks, the minister said, adding that after ensuring full health security, students will be taken back to school.
Bangladesh recorded a total of 540,266 COVID-19 infections and 8,266 deaths as of Saturday, according to the Directorate General of Health Services.
The South Asian country launched its mass vaccination campaign for COVID-19 on Feb. 7 and has vaccinated some 736,680 people to date.