As COVID-19 cases dwindle, schools open to in-person learning
Schools will see growing in-person attendance as the Ministry of Education [MOE] announces that classes will now be in-person as well as online, starting November 1. Authorities scrapped a previous decision giving parents an option between distance learning and blended learning.
“The Ministry of Education and Higher Education relied on the updates and directives of the Ministry of Public Health in making the decision to alternate education. The student’s attendance at school is extremely important as they affect the student psychologically, healthily, socially,” said Moza al Mudahka, Director of Educational Guidance Department at the Ministry of Education.
The decision to raise the average attendance rate in all public and private schools as well as private kindergartens, to a rate of up to 42 percent of the schools’ capacity with a weekly rotational attendance schedule, comes as COVID-19 cases continue to decrease in Qatar.
All public and private schools will be obligated to divide the total number of classes with a maximum of 15 students in each class, leaving a distance of 1.5 meters between each person. Other precautionary measures include mandatory wearing of masks and organised entry and exit of students to the school building to prevent crowding.
Specialised schools and those that cater to special needs must also have the same attendance rate. Schools with a smaller population can have more students in-person as long as the student per class number is 15.
Teachers and administrators will continue to be tested and all present in the school must adhere to social distance measures, as prescribed by the Ministry of Public Health.
According to Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, Deputy Chief Medical Officer at Hamad Medical Corporation, the number of cases in schools is very limited, with the infection rate among school children less than 1 percent.
“The vast majority of children infected with the coronavirus have been infected outside the school premises, and the infection rate in schools is not concerning nor poses a threat to society at the present time,” said Dr. Al Khal.He added that a school will be shut down for two weeks if it records infections in three classes or 5 percent of its staff are infected.