With beginning of academic year COID-19 cases may increase in Tajikistan several times, a doctor-epidemiologist told Asia-Plus on the basis of anonymity.

The academic year starts in Tajikistan at the time when both the president and doctors say that the country must prepare for the possible second wave of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). 

“The situation in the country now seems to be stable, but it but it can change for the worse in a short time,” the doctor-epidemiologist noted.  

“Just imagine how many people will take to the streets with the beginning of the academic year and will use public transport,” said he.  “I am sure that it is impossible to observe a social distancing in transport and classes in any city of our country, not to mention the mandatory wearing of masks.”  

“If under current conditions, one coronavirus-infected person can infect two persons on the street, then then when schoolchildren and students go out into the street, on person will infect ten others,” the epidemiologist added.  

Recall, by education ministry’s decree a new academic year will start in Tajikistan on August 17.   Dozens of thousands of schoolchildren and students will fill public transport and educational institutions in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Minister of Education and Science Mamhadyusuf Imomzoda, the decision to bring the academic year forward, to August 17, was taken because teachers and students were slightly behind schedule because of the coronavirus pandemic.  “These weeks will be an adaption period, and during this time, school students will take those lessons which they missed,” the minister said.  

School students will study in three shifts

The Sanitary and Epidemiological Supervision Service has sent its recommendations to the Ministry of Education and Science. 

All educational institutions must organize taking temperatures of teachers and students and the mandatory wearing of masks.  

The educational institutions must be disinfected every day.

Desks in educational institutions must be set in a checkerboard pattern a meter away from each other.

In the learning process, the teacher must keep a distance of up to 2 meters from the students. 

Lessons on all subjects must be conducted in the same class.

Gyms, conference halls and other support spaces should be temporary used as classes.  .  

Meanwhile, teachers say it makes no sense to start studying from August 17.  

Teachers of secondary educational institutions are not ready for the new academic year, a teacher with one of secondary schools in Bokhtar, the capital of the Khatlon province, told Asia-Plus on the basis of anonymity.   .

“We couldn't really rest, because we didn't get vacation pay on time,” said he.  “Besides, we can be infected with coronavirus because we are unable to observe the social distancing.” 

But the most important thing why there is no point in starting

Studying on August 17, according to him, is lack of textbooks.

“What textbooks will they use to learn, they were taken away at the end of the last academic year?” asked the teacher.