Background/aim: The COVID-19 pandemic majorly disrupted conventional schooling and many countries maintained educational services through distance education. The duration of school closures in Turkey was longer than most OECD countries, thus Turkey prioritized school reopenings in the 2021-2022 academic year to mitigate possible negative outcomes of closures. Here we study the compatibility of implications for school reopenings in Turkey with these practices and assess the first semester of face-to-face schooling. Materials and methods: We have used document analysis to present and compare the practices in Turkey with international practices. We also used a comparative approach to assess the coherence between policies in Turkey and international suggestions. Results: We find that vaccination rates of teachers and education staff are quite high in Turkey. Other practices, mandatory face masks, class-based closures and quarantine policies, are also in agreement with international practices. These steps are supported with frequent cleaning and ventilation of school environments, as well as with social distancing measures in schools. Conclusion: Consequently, the rate of daily closed classrooms has been kept below 1%, and the patterns of closures and openings are in general agreement with the changes of positive cases in the Turkish society. The net rate of closed classrooms decreased with the decline of quarantine days in Turkey. We hope that these insights will inform about school openings and contribute to best practices for faceto-face schooling.
School reopening, face-to-face education, COVID-19, educational equality, vaccination
ÖZER, MAHMUT; SUNA, HAYRİ EREN; PERC, MATJAZ; ŞENSOY, SADRİ; and İLİKHAN, SEVİL UYGUN
"Turkey's transition to face-to-face schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic,"
Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences: Vol. 52:
3, Article 1.
Available at: https://journals.tubitak.gov.tr/medical/vol52/iss3/1