Hundreds of thousands of students have returned to classrooms as Bangladesh reopened schools after nearly one-and-a-half years of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"The students of the first to fourth grades, and sixth to ninth grades, will attend classes once a week for an initial period of three weeks," Education Minister Dipu Moni said on Sunday.
Those who are scheduled to sit for public exams at the end of fifth, 10th and 12th grades will attend classes every day, she said, adding all other classes will resume gradually, situation permitting.
She ordered the school authorities to properly maintain the health guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus.
Bangladesh shut all educational institutes in March 2020, two weeks after the first cases of novel coronavirus emerged in the South Asian country.
The virus has so far infected more than 1.5 million people, with 26,880 deaths in Bangladesh, which has reported a downward trend of daily caseloads with less than 3000 in the first 10 days of September, compared to average daily caseloads of 10,000 in the first week of August.
Television footage showed officials at schools in Dhaka checking each student's temperature before allowing them in. Teachers, students and staff members of the schools were seen wearing face masks.
"It feels like a festival as the students are returning to school after so long time, we welcome them all," Nasrin Sultana, head teacher of one of the schools in Dhaka's Mirpur neighbourhood, said.
Dressed in red and green attire, the teachers and staff members of Mirpur High Schools greeted the students with small gift box in the morning, she said.
The gate at a girls' high school in southern Jashore district was seen decorated with colourful balloons alongside a board next to it that listed the rules and restrictions that the students must follow.
The teachers of the school were seen waiting at the gate with bowls of chocolate and flowers to welcome their students.
Bangladesh has more than 3.39 million students at the primary, secondary and higher secondary level studying across 168,100 educational institutes, according to the country's Bureau of Statistics.