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Back to class: Russian universities set to resume full-time teaching as Covid-19 cases fall sharply nationwide

Back to class: Russian universities set to resume full-time teaching as Covid-19 cases fall sharply nationwide
Students in Russia will soon be dusting off their travelcards as the country prepares for a return to traditional, in-person teaching at universities and colleges, with Covid-19 lockdown measures due to be relaxed.

The Ministry of Education and Science announced on Friday morning that it had ordered academic chiefs to organize the reopening of classrooms and lecture halls, taking into account both local laws and the opinions of an institution’s students.

“At the same time,” officials said, “universities will need to take preventative measures.” Specifically, they will be expected to “create conditions for hygiene by providing antiseptic handwash, ensuring the temperature-checking of everyone present, enforcing mask-wearing and social distancing, and airing classrooms during breaks.” They will open their doors from February 8.

Also on rt.com Moscow mayor lifts ban on nightclubs and drops curfew for bars amid falling coronavirus cases across Russia

Many of the country’s universities had shifted to remote learning last year, amid rising rates of coronavirus infection. In November, an order from the ministry had required institutions to put in place provisions for students to study from home. Since then, a number have expressed a desire to return to traditional teaching, particularly in Moscow.

The news comes as Russia begins to relax other pandemic-prevention measures amid a downturn in the number of positive tests. Earlier this week, students will be relieved to hear, the capital dropped its ban on nightclubs, bars, and restaurants opening past 11pm, paving the way for a resurgence of the city’s nightlife.

In announcing the decision, Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said that “the situation with the spread of coronavirus infection continues to improve. During the past week, the number of new infections did not exceed 2,000 to 3,000 per day. The number of hospitalized people dropped by another thousand. In coronavirus hospitals, more than 50 per cent of beds are free for the first time since mid-June last year.”

He warned, however, “that the likelihood of contracting the coronavirus, although reduced, still exists. The fight is not over yet. We still have to be careful.”

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