Speaking at a cabinet meeting on Sunday evening, Rouhani thanked teachers and the Education Ministry and said, "Education is just one of the functions of schools, and virtual education is not a complete alternative to the school institution".
He added, "Training, fostering creativity, growing collective spirit, cooperation, and socialization are other functions of school, which caused us to try to activate the school institution by protecting the health of the children of Islamic Iran".
Millions of students headed back to schools across Iran on Saturday under health protocols. Schools had been shut in early March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Iran rang in the new school year two weeks earlier than usual amid special COVID-19 measures. This year classes will be held through a combination of in-classroom, online and televised sessions.
Iran has been contending with the coronavirus pandemic amid US sanctions, which have seriously hampered efforts to contain the outbreak.
At least 384,666 people have been infected with COVID-19 in Iran as of Sunday. More than 22,000 have died, while 332,000 have recovered.