The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Monday welcomed the reopening of schools in Libya.

UNICEF welcomes the Ministry of Education’s announcement to reopen schools from Jan. 2 onwards after closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said UNICEF Libya Special Representative Abdulkadir Musse.

“We are excited that girls and boys will resume learning, while attending their schools that fully adhere to strict COVID-19 control and prevention measures,” he said in a UNICEF statement released Monday.

The North African country has to date reported a total of 105,378 COVID-19 cases and 1,589 deaths since it confirmed its first infection in March 2020. Musse reaffirmed UNICEF’s commitment to supporting the Libyan government during these “exceptional and challenging times,” stressing the need to come together to ensure a smooth and safe return for the students.

In 2020, the UN body worked with the Education Ministry in this regard by launching a “Safely Back to School” workshop on infection control measures targeting educational personnel, said the statement.

Meanwhile, UNICEF rehabilitated 31 schools in Libya, providing improved learning environments for nearly 18,867 children, while scaling up distance-learning by recording some 1,800 core subjects across grades, with the help of such entities as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the European Union, and the governments of Germany and Japan.

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