After a seven-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic, schools have reopened in Iran. Following the reopening, a picture showcasing what measures authorities are taking to maintain social distancing on school campuses has gone viral on the Internet. In this image, students can be seen sitting in plastic tents for safety precautions.
The coronavirus outbreak is showing no signs of slowing down in Iran, and despite concerns, schools have been reopened on September 6. According to various reports, over 15 million students are expected to return to schools under strict health protocols.
In the viral picture, girl students with notes and books can be seen sitting inside individual transparent tents inside classrooms. A little girl in the front is seen using a blanket to keep warm. The picture was first shared by journalist Farnaz Fassihi on Twitter with the caption, “School in the age of pandemic in Iran.”
While many are impressed with the measures being taken to keep these students safe from COVID-19 in schools, others have criticised the decision of reopening schools since the pandemic is far from over.
On his decision to reopen schools, Iran President Hassan Rouhani said that health and education are equally important to society. In a video conference Rouhani said, “This year, we shoulder a heavier burden of responsibility toward our students.” Although he went on to add that parents won’t be forced to send their children back to school.
Picture divides social media
One Twitter user wrote, “Is it bad that I think this is cute or that it brings back memories of fort building from my childhood?” In reply, another said, “You know we’ve finally internalized the absurdity of 2020 when the responses are “so cute!” instead of “how disturbing that this way of life is necessary.”
Here are some of the reactions:
This look so cute but feel like punishment, as an American looking at this pic.
— iThinkWithMyhead (@Gtrealmacoy) September 8, 2020
Dr. Mohammad Reza Zafarghandi, Head of Iran’s Medical Council, wrote a letter to the education minister of Iran saying that the surprise decision to reopen schools would “no doubt” lead to an increased burden medical fraternity in the nation. “When an epidemic hits, schools are the first places that should be closed and the last to be reopened,” Zafarghandi was quoted as saying by ISNA.
In India, The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently announced that schools will reopen from September 21 for classes 9 to 12. In-person classes at schools will be conducted on a “voluntary basis,” alongside online/distance learning. Read more about it here.
According to reports, Iran remains one of the worst-hit countries by the coronavirus in the Middle East with over 384,000 cases.
Feature Image Credit: Farnaz Fassihi/Twitter