The COVID-19 vaccine that Turkey started receiving from China will greatly facilitate the reopening of schools, the Turkish education minister said on Wednesday.

“It [COVID-19 vaccine] will pave the way for us to conduct face-to-face education,” Ziya Selcuk told Anadolu Agency’s Editors’ Desk.

He said after vaccination of high-risk groups, including the elderly and health professionals, teachers can get vaccinated if they wish.

Turkey received the first 3 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine ordered from China’s SinoVac Biotech on early Wednesday.

Announcing the arrival of the vaccines on Twitter, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said vaccination will start following 14 days of tests.

Speaking of some countries’ reopening of schools during the pandemic, Selcuk said Turkey did not do it because it has to consider the country’s structure and social habits.

“When we look back, I can say that we are satisfied with most of the work,” he said on the measures taken against COVID-19 in the field of education.

He noted that remote education capacity was 100,000 at the beginning, the number has exceeded 3 million now.

Selcuk said in a society, normalization cannot be achieved without the reopening of schools. “For normalization to occur, we first need to take care of schools.”

Turkey resumed its distance learning education system as of Nov. 20 until Jan. 4, 2021, after partially reopening schools on Sept. 21.

Remote learning will continue through national broadcaster TRT’s Education Information Network (EBA) channels and live courses, while all teachers can carry out live lessons through the EBA.

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