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Monday, January 24, 2022

94% staff vaccinated as ministry launches ‘back to school’ campaign


Authorities have been encouraging all teachers and administrative staff to get vaccinated to ensure safety on school grounds. 

Around 94% of teachers and administrative staff in all public and private schools as well as kindergartens in Qatar have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, the education minister said.

Minister of Education and Higher Education Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulwahed Al Hammadi’s comments come as schools open with a blended learning system for the new 2021/22 academic year on Sunday.

“The blended learning system has become the best option to ensure the continuity of the educational process without interruption and to ensure the quality of education while maintaining the health and safety of students,” said Al Hammadi.

How blended learning has impacted children and parents over the pandemic 

The minister called on students to utilise all available educational resources and options to learn and grow academically despite challenges that come with the ongoing pandemic. The official noted how the blended learning system has given parents a bigger role in educating their children since it started last year.

“The ministry has provided all the educational inputs for the start of the new academic year to make our education system effective enabling graduates to keep pace with the requirements of the times,” he said.

“The ministry also ensures the provision of well-qualified teachers, effective and inspiring school administrations, the establishment of modern school systems, and curricula that respond to 21st century skills.”

Speaking to teachers ahead of the new year, the minister said: “We highly appreciate your exceptional efforts, especially during the pandemic, as trust in you is growing, and your role in building a human being is a fundamental pillar of nation building”. 

Read also: Qatar to provide third Covid-19 vaccine dose to immunodeficient patients

All students and staff have been urged to understand importance of adhering to the precautionary measures and guidelines set by education and health authorities to ensure the safety of all.

To date, 48.71% of students aged 12 to 15 years have received the full course of the Covid-19 vaccine, while 63.17% of students aged 16 to 18 are now fully vaccinated according to data by the Primary Health Care Corporation.

The latest figures show that 7 out of 10 children in Qatar aged 12-17 have already received at least one vaccine dose, with no serious side-effects reported.

Meanwhile, 93.7% of the eligible population have received at least one dose of vaccine, and over half the population are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. 

Blended learning: How it works

The fast and effective rollout of the anti-Covid vaccines has aided the country in resuming on-campus learning at 50% capacity.

Under the blended learning system, 50% of students will be physically attending classes, while the other 50% will attend lessons remotely, in line with the rotation plan set by schools.

Covid-19 protocols will be in place at all schools.

This includes bubble arrangements that serve as an effective preventative measure to help curb the spread of Covid-19 within the community.

Read also: Qatar receives first batch of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines

Schools are required to have nursing staff on a daily basis and visitors and employees are required to show the Ehteraz application and have their temperature checked before entering the school premises.

If any Covid-19 infection is detected, parents or school staff must report immediately to MoPH and MoEHE.

In case of an increased number of Covid-19 cases reported in a certain institution, the school or kindergarten will have to switch to 100% online learning, after the approval of MoPH.

“The Ministry of Education has issued guidelines for face-to-face and online learning in kindergartens with a maximum 15 students per classroom, with the need to utilise the school theatre and sports halls as classrooms to maintain social distancing,” MoEHE’s Assistant Undersecretary for Educational Affairs, Fawzia Abdulaziz al-Khater, said.

“Kindergartens need to communicate with parents, informing them of their children’s rotation schedules.

“In addition, morning assemblies, group activities such as excursions, camps and celebrations are to be cancelled and organised virtually where applicable,” she stated.

Only students from low-density schools in remote areas, low-density specialised schools, speciality schools for students with disabilities, will be attending with 100% on-campus learning.

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