One teacher reported nearly half of her class was absent as thousands of families ignored the reopening, seen by government officials as a step toward normalcy in a post-Hosni Mubarak Egypt, The Washington Post reported Monday.
"Parents are still scared," said Fatema Salah, a private school principal and instructor, explaining that many students were stranded because the government asked schools to forgo bus runs through the city.
"There are not enough police on the streets." she said.
Salah said she didn't receive any guidance from the Education Ministry about what, if anything, she should teach about the protests that led to Mubarak's resignation from the presidency. Teachers, she said, still were using textbooks that include passages praising the achievements of Mubarak and his party.
"Those will change, but it will take time," Salah said.
Reformers said they hope their next target is Egypt's school system, the Post said. A new education minister was named last week and advocates are seeking a total curriculum overhaul.
Not all school officials endorsed the new regime, the newspaper said. Officials at four regular government schools visited by the Post Sunday would not allow visitors to talk to teachers or students.
A man who identified himself as the principal of one such school near the presidential palace said he was instructed not to discuss school policy with outsiders.
"Things may have changed but we haven't been told to do anything different," he said.