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15 September 2021, 17:43

Bulgaria begins new school year amid severe pandemic

Parents watch their children entering a school in Sofia, Bulgaria, Sept. 15, 2021.
Parents watch their children entering a school in Sofia, Bulgaria, Sept. 15, 2021.

SOFIA, 15 September (BelTA - Xinhua) - Despite the severe COVID-19 pandemic in Bulgaria, all the 2,357 schools across the country opened their classrooms for the new school year.

Around 700,000 children in Bulgaria began their new school year, which traditionally commenced on Sept. 15, following the guidelines set by the Ministry of Education and Science.

As always, the celebrations for the first school day were held in the schoolyards, but following the guidelines, the presence of only a limited number of people was allowed including parents of first-graders.

According to the guidelines, classes are held in person with anti-pandemic measures in place such as wearing masks by students of above grade four, disinfection, hygiene and regular ventilation of the rooms. Classes or schools can go online following different scenarios, depending on the spread of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, 2,029 COVID-19 infections and 83 deaths were newly recorded in Bulgaria in the past 24 hours according to the country's health ministry.

Data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control showed that only 23 percent of the adult population in Bulgaria have already received at least one vaccine dose, and 21.4 percent have been fully vaccinated, ranking it last in the European Union.

The vaccination rate in the schools in Bulgaria is not much different. Nikolai Denkov, the country's Minister of Education and Science, said on Tuesday that just over 30 percent of teachers and around two percent of students were vaccinated.

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