YEREVAN — Schools in Armenia that have remained closed due to the coronavirus pandemic since March will open their doors to students on September 15, according to Education Minister Arayik Harutiunyan.

Harutiunyan said on Monday that the issue was discussed by senior government officials coordinating the coronavirus state of emergency earlier that day.

The minister added that vocational training colleges, music and art schools will also reopen on September 15.

All establishments must comply with sanitary and hygienic rules set by the government, Harutiunyan stressed.

According to the minister, decisions on universities and a number of other educational institutions will be made within the next week.

“Authorities overseeing the state of emergency, other our colleagues and the ministry have jointly developed detailed procedures and guidelines on all issues, which will be published and shared in the coming days,” Harutiunyan said in a Facebook post.

“Dear teachers, parents and students, in the coming weeks we must work together to ensure a successful start and a smooth course of the academic year, taking into account the restrictions caused by the pandemic and excluding media provocations,” the minister added.

All schools, universities and other general education institutions have remained closed since the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic in March when they switched to distance learning to ensure the continuity of the educational process.

The current state of emergency in Armenia is due to end on August 12, but the government plans to extend it for another month.

The number of active coronavirus cases in Armenia continued to decrease for the last week as the fatality rate remained relatively high, according to official statistics.

The figures reported by the Ministry of Health on Tuesday show that for the first time since early June the number of active coronavirus cases in Armenia has dropped below 7,000. 160 new cases were reported and 7 more patients died from COVID-19 bringing the total number of deaths to 803.

According to the ministry, since the start of the epidemic in March 234 other patients infected with the virus died from other pre-existing diseases.

The daily number of officially registered fatalities averaged approximately 15 from July 6 through July 24 after which a downward trend began.

As of August 11, the total number of coronavirus cases identified in Armenia has reached 40,593. In the past weeks and days the number of daily reported cases decreased more than twice as compared to what appears to be the peak of the epidemic in early July when over 700 cases were identified on a daily basis.

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