Turkey eyes opening schools in September as doctors call for lowering of vaccination age to 12

Turkish Education Minister Ziya Selçuk said on July 26 that the government was eyeing Sep. 6 to resume in-person education as the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) called for the lowering of the vaccination eligibility age to 12.

Education Minister Selçuk is seen during a school visit on July 26.

Duvar English

The Turkish Education Ministry is aiming to open schools and start in-person classes on Sep. 6, Minister Ziya Selçuk said on July 26. 

"Our current point of view is directed at opening schools on Sep. 6. We are completing all our duties to this end as the Education Ministry," Selçuk said.  

"We're not currently evaluating any options like 'What if...' Our focus of point is opening up the schools."

The issues of cleaning and disinfection are at the center of preparations for school openings, the minister said, adding that they've upgraded criteria with the Turkish Standards Institute. 

Compensatory classes designed to make up for the online teaching period during the COVID-19 pandemic will continue now that the Eid al-Adha holiday is finished, the minister added. 

Meanwhile, the Turkish Medical Association said on July 26 that the vaccination eligibility age should be lowered from 16 to 12 as soon as possible, noting that herd immunity requires 85 percent of the population to receive two doses of the treatment. 

Separately, the Student Parent Association (Veli Der) launched a campaign for schools to resume face-to-face eduation as soon as possible, saying that education is a right that can't be practiced remotely. 

Turkey's new coronavirus cases jumped to 14,230 on July 25, more than triple the amount three weeks earlier and reaching levels last seen in the first half of May, according to health ministry data that also showed a daily death toll of 55 people.

COVID-19 infections reached a daily peak above 60,000 during a wave in April-May. They then fell to a low of 4,418 on July 4 after a lockdown that ended in mid-May. Most of the final restrictions were lifted this month.