SKOPJE, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Amid the COVID 19 pandemic, new school year 2020-2021 in North Macedonia will start mainly online, except for the students from first to third grade of primary schools and schools with small classes, Health Minister Venko Filipce told a press conference on Tuesday.
The decision was reached at a government session earlier in the day in coordination with the final proposal made by the Infections Diseases Commission of North Macedonia.
Under the health protocols, Filipce said the number of children in a class will not exceed 20 and they will stay at a 1.5-meter distance and wear face masks.
The minister noted that the rate of infection among younger students is about 3.4 percent and they usually have mild symptoms or are often asymptomatic. Parents in North Macedonia will choose whether their children would go to school or attend online classes.
Another category of children that will be allowed to attend classes is those attending schools with fewer students under a stable epidemiological situation.
Also at the press conference, Minister of Education and Science Arber Ademi said that it is very important for the social and emotional development of the children from first to third grade to attend classes in schools.
On Tuesday, the Health Ministry reported 130 new coronavirus cases in a 24-hour span, bringing the total in the country to 12,970, with 9,513 recoveries and 549 fatalities.
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