Coronavirus board advises college programs that depend on hands-on teaching to restart in-person classes

Turkey's Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board has advised the Council of Higher Education (YÖK) to instruct universities to resume in-person teaching for courses which depend on hands-on instruction, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Feb. 16. Koca's statement came amid reports that the government could ease COVID-19 restrictions by provinces.

Duvar English

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said that the country's Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board advised the Council of Higher Education (YÖK) to tell universities to continue theoretical classes online, whereas to hold face-to-face instruction for applied trainings. 

“We held evaluations about higher education today. As per the evaluations, we conveyed our consensus to the Council of Higher Education for the applied trainings to be held face-to-face as far as much as possible, and for theoretical trainings to be continued online,” Koca said in a written statement on Feb. 16, after chairing a meeting of the Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board.

Last November, Turkish universities suspended face-to-face classes after a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases across the country and continued online education. 

Koca's statement came after the two officials told Reuters that the government is considering a plan to ease some curfews and curbs on restaurants and schools in districts where infections are lightest, and cabinet is set to discuss possible details on Feb. 17.

The Health Ministry began publishing more detailed provincial case numbers on Feb. 15, data that could guide the re-opening of dining at restaurants and cafes as well as schools, the officials said. The data could also trigger tighter restrictions in certain districts.

It was unclear when restrictions adopted in December could be eased or whether final decisions on the plan would be taken this week.

Koca said last week it would be possible to evaluate the eventual easing of restrictions in certain provinces based on the detailed coronavirus data.