Gaza: schools reopen despite virus fears

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GAZA | Hundreds of thousands of Gazan children returned to school on Saturday after a five-month hiatus due to the new coronavirus pandemic which has not spared the overcrowded Palestinian enclave.

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Ziyad Thabit, the Undersecretary at the Ministry of Education in Gaza, explained that the students would follow a remedial program throughout August, with only four lessons taught per day.

Gaza: schools reopen despite virus fears

“The ministry has prepared a plan which is based on several scenarios (of evolution of the pandemic, editor’s note) to manage the school year”, he said.

78 cases of the novel coronavirus, including one death, have been reported in Gaza since March.

The United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (Unrwa), which educates hundreds of thousands of children in the Hamas-controlled enclave, has confirmed that more than 285,000 students have returned to the benches of its 277 schools.

Gaza: schools reopen despite virus fears

All the schools managed by Unrwa have been disinfected and the UN agency specifies in a press release that it has “put in place preventive measures”, in particular providing the equipment necessary for the disinfection of schools.

Collective gatherings at the start of the day will no longer take place and children will have to stay in their class during recess, the statement added.

Gaza: schools reopen despite virus fears

“The measures will be reviewed every week and strengthened if necessary,” says Unrwa.

Two million people live in the Gaza Strip, an impoverished Palestinian enclave subjected to an Israeli blockade since 2007.

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