Iran Fully Reopens Schools, Universities After Two Years

Iran Fully Reopens Schools, Universities After Two Years
Iran Fully Reopens Schools, Universities After Two Years

After two years of closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic, schools and universities across the country saw the return of millions of students to education centers on Sunday morning without any restrictions imposed on the non-vaccinated. 
No social distancing is required and all educational institutions, public or private, must reopen with full capacity, according to an announcement issued by the National Coronavirus Headquarters during New Year holidays, IRNA reported. 
School and universities had gradually begun reopening at the start of the school year back in September but many had alternated students in class to prevent a rise in transmission rates.
Schools are now in session full-time and mitigation measures only include mandatory facemasks and proper ventilation. 
School principals have been instructed to encourage vaccination and monitor in-school transmission and report the data back to the Education Ministry.
Several renowned universities, including Allameh Tabataba’i University and Sharif University of Technology, have refused the call for the physical presence of students on Sunday morning and announced alternative plans that require student presence at a later date or postpone in-person learning altogether, until the start of the next semester. 
Science Minister Mohammad Ali Zolfi Gol made a visit to University of Tehran and made conversations with professors and students on their first day back to promote the reopening.  
University students can return to dormitories only if they have received three vaccine shots, Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi said last week when the NCH announced the mandatory reopening. 
Iran began giving out vaccine shots to university and school students in late summer but many remain unvaccinated against the highly infectious coronavirus. 
Public health experts have warned against normalizing the Covid-19 outbreak and resuming in-person learning since the announcement was made. 
Many cities reported a spike in coronavirus infections in winter as the contagious Omicron variant spread throughout the country, delaying the physical return of students to classrooms. 
A new subvariant of Omicron, known as BA.2, is currently infecting more and more people and has sparked global fear over yet another peak. 



Red Cities on Rise

Despite declining Covid cases in the first week of the new Iranian year, the Health Ministry has registered a surge in hospitalizations over the second week, linked to holiday trips and family gatherings. 
The number of cities on red alert have increased from 24 to 36 over the past week and 59 cities have been color-coded as orange or high-risk. 
Nearly 64 million Iranians have received the first dose of a Covid vaccine and 56 million have gotten both shots. Some 26.2 million people have also received booster shots to further build immunity against the respiratory illness. 
On the same day that schools and universities opened nationwide, 1,275 new patients were identified and 38 more people died from the disease. 
Around the world, 491 million Covid cases have been detected since the start of the pandemic and more than 6.1 million have lost their lives to the virus. 

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