Students in Gaza, West Bank return to school amid coronavirus fears

By Saud Abu Ramadan

Gaza, Aug 16 (EFE).- Some 1.4 million students across the Gaza Strip and the West Bank returned to schools on Monday amid fears over the rapid spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19.

“I hope we won’t be forced to shut down schools or villages over a serious warning and the significant increase in infections,” Palestinian health minister Mai al-Kaila said.

Around 71,000 teachers in the West Bank and Gaza have been inoculated before the start of the school year and it is planned to vaccinate pupils aged between 11 and 16 next.

The vaccination rollout of the Palestinian territories has been progressing slowly, as just over half a million out of the West Bank’s 2.7 million inhabitants and 116,000 of the more than two million residents in the Gaza Strip have been vaccinated.

Marwan Awartani, the minister of education, said Monday that precautions taken in educational centers like wearing face masks and social distancing are mandatory.

“I am happy to finally be able to return to school after a sad vacation, not only because of the coronavirus, but because of the war with Israel that killed many children (67, according to the UN),” Ahmad al-Ashi, a 16-year-old Gaza resident, told EFE, referring to the Israel-Palestine escalation in May.

More than 180,000 students returned to schools, which were damaged during the 11-day battle between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza and have not been repaired yet due to a lack of necessary materials in the blockaded enclave.

There are three types of schools in the Palestinian territories: government, private and those affiliated to the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) that have not managed to fully function due to the pandemic-induced restrictions and lockdowns.EFE


Related Articles

Back to top button