CAIRO: Minister of Education Yousry El-Gamal confirmed that schools will start on Oct. 3 as scheduled, with no further delays.
El-Gamal told the press that the ministry sees no need to further postpone the start of the academic year, which was initially scheduled for Sept. 26 and pushed back because of the H1N1 virus threat.
El-Gamal said the Ministry of Investment provided the Ministry of Education with 16 million surgical masks to be distributed in public schools.
According to the Ministry of Education, the number of students enrolled in public schools this year is 16.1 million students.
The Ministry of Health also provided the education ministry with brochures to be distributed to students to raise awareness about the virus.
In a press conference Sunday, El-Gamal indicated that the ministry hired a large number of janitors to keep the schools clean.
The minister added that classes will only last 30 minutes rather than 45 to decrease the amount of time students spend in classrooms, which have a capacity of around 40 students.
The Ministers of Education, Higher Education and Information will conduct a series of meetings starting Monday to discuss utilizing special educational television channels for teaching students at home in case of a virus outbreak in schools and universities.
In a previous statement by El-Gamal a few weeks ago, the minister said that schools will be shut down if more than two cases appear among students in different classrooms.
The ministry established two hotlines (19151 and 19126) for people to report H1N1 cases and ask questions about the virus.
By press time, the Ministry of Health announced that the total number of H1N1 cases in Egypt had reached 932 while the number of recovered cases increased to 903.
On Monday, the ministry reported five new cases; two Egyptians – one recently arriving from Umrah and the other related to a previously detected case – and three foreigners who recently arrived to Egypt from Russia and England.