The Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (NES), or Rojava, has decided to postpone the reopening of schools in areas it runs until October 4 instead of early September due to the increased number of coronavirus infections there.
Infections in regions east of the Euphrates River have reached 527, including 34 deaths and 88 recoveries.
The postponement decision was taken in coordination with the Administration’s Education Authority, Health Authority and Executive Council, said the NES’s education authority chief Rajab al-Musharraf.
He said authorities were studying options to resume the academic year even as the pandemic persists.
Musharraf said efforts are ongoing with concerned committees to provide schools and educational institutions with personal hygiene supplies, including soap, sanitizers and paper tissues in toilets.
Areas east of the Euphrates are suffering from a severe shortage of health and medical supplies following a Russian-Chinese veto earlier this year, which suspended aid through al-Yarubiyah border crossing with Iraq and posed a double threat with the coronavirus outbreak.
International and local humanitarian organizations and Kurdish officials have warned local authorities may not be able to contain the outbreak.
The Autonomous Administration has instructed municipalities to disinfect the 2,225 schools and educational institutions ahead of the school year to preserve the safety of students and teaching staff.