NUR-SULTAN – Almost one month is left until a new academic year begins with nearly 7,500 schools welcoming close to 3.5 million pupils. After nearly a year of classes held online, Kazakhstan prepares to bring pupils back to classrooms with strict sanitary regulations in place.
Last year has seen thousands of kids studying from home, a change to which both kids and their parents had to adapt quickly. This, however, was not a smooth transition for many people for different reasons. Some did not have sufficient equipment to study from home, while others had problems with an internet connection making the whole learning process increasingly stressful.
This year, schoolchildren are preparing to return to traditional classrooms. As President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said at the July 10 expanded government meeting, people have to adapt to living under COVID-19 circumstances.
For teachers and schoolchildren, this will mean regular temperature checks, wearing masks, regular sterilization of premises, and air disinfection, based on the recommendations developed by the Kazakh Ministry of Education and Science.
As cases continue rising and new variants emerge, the ministry recommends organizing the educational process with social distance determining in advance school shifts based on the school capacity and the number of students.
School breaks, including visits to canteens, will also be organized at different times to avoid crowds.
“Education officials and organizations have experience in organizing the work of schools during the pandemic in compliance with sanitary requirements. Nevertheless, it is necessary to take this issue very responsibly. Children’s health is paramount, so each class will be taught in its own room, without going to other classrooms. Students will continue to wear masks as well as teachers,” said Deputy Chair of Preschool and Secondary Education Committee Jomart Karambaev.
While the reopening of schools depends on the overall epidemiological situation in the country, one of the requirements of sanitary services is the vaccination of teachers and technical staff.
The final decision on reopening will be made by the country’s interdepartmental commission on preventing the spread of coronavirus infection and the chief state sanitary doctor.
“Distance learning was not entirely in effect in the country (last year). In fact, on average around 4,000 small rural schools taught in a traditional format almost throughout the school year. The total number of students in the traditional format, including special duty classes, ranged from one million in the first quarter to two million children in the fourth quarter,” said Karambayev.