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COVID-19: Sri Lanka reopens schools after year of closures

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COVID-19: Sri Lanka reopens schools after year of closures

Schools in Sri Lanka began reopening on Thursday after more than a year of closures linked to the coronavirus pandemic, and despite a strike by teachers.

Only schools with fewer than 200 students, or about 3,800 out of 10,200 schools, would open, meaning that 400,000 students could return to their classes.

The phased system would allow health authorities to ensure maximum precautions while other schools would gradually reopen in the coming weeks and would allow all 4.3 million students to return.

Online education programs were introduced during the one-year school shutdowns, but a strike by public school teachers over salary disputes has affected the program in the past three months.

Some teachers have decided not to go to school Thursday and Friday as part of the ongoing protests, but they will return to work from next Monday.

The government decided to agree to revise teachers’ salaries on a four-year system, although some unions did not agree to the solution.

Sri Lanka has vaccinated over 60% of the population against COVID-19 and implemented a new schoolchildren vaccination program.

The daily death toll from COVID-19, which at one point averaged over 200, has dropped to 20 per day.

As of March last year, Sri Lanka has recorded 13,543 deaths from COVID-19 while half a million people have been infected.

dpa / NAN

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