By Carlos Jimwell Aquino

PHOTO: Dita Alangkara/The Associated Press

As the Indonesian government eases restrictions on COVID-19, school classes in Jakarta reopened on Monday after being closed for nearly 18 months.

Face-to-face schooling began in 610 schools that passed the Jakarta Education Agency's required tests, with classes held at half the usual size.

This decision comes after the COVID-19 cases began to fall in several regions of Java and Bali, including greater Jakarta, Bandung, and Surabaya, over the last week.

The schools will be open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, with the remaining days being used to disinfect classrooms.

Furthermore, no one is allowed to talk in class, face masks must be worn at all times, and no one is permitted to leave the classroom for recess.

Teachers must be vaccinated and must hold online meetings with parents to ensure that proper safety precautions are in place on school grounds.

Based on the government's assessment of the situation, in-person schooling will be blended with remote learning and gradually expanded.

Aside from that, authorities in Jakarta have reopened malls, places of worship, and outdoor sports venues with capacity limits since mid-August, and people must show proof of vaccination.

On Sunday, the Indonesian Health Ministry reported 7,427 new infections in the previous 24 hours, the lowest daily total since June 9.

On the other hand, out of its 270 million total population, the country has fully vaccinated 34.8 million people and partially vaccinated another 26.7 million.

Report sources: The Guardian, WIVB