The announcement was met with disappointment by some teachers and experts. At a school in the Moghbazar area of the capital, Dhaka, teachers were frustrated over having to restart online classes for their 500 students.

“Students just don’t get the lessons the same way online as in the classroom. It’s very important to use teaching materials to help them understand clearly,” Mizanur Rahman, a teacher at Provati Bidya Niketon, told The Associated Press news agency.

He said the measure was affecting students in other ways, too.

“Students come to school and play with their mates. It develops their minds and increases knowledge,” he said.

‘A little contradictory’

The school closures have raised eyebrows at a time when Bangladesh is still allowing business events, including a month-long trade fair that began in January and has been visited by thousands of people.

An annual, month-long book fair is likely to open sometime in February in Dhaka as well, drawing thousands more visitors.

Experts say the lack of consistency is illogical and undermines pandemic precautions.

“Educational institutions are rather more essential than recreation centres or trade fairs,” argued Liaquat Ali, a biomedical scientist and adviser to the Dhaka-based Pothikrit Institute of Health Studies, saying the move was “a little contradictory”.

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