DOHA: The Ministry of Education and Higher Education has decided to cancel the decision to choose between actual attendance and distance learning and adopt the rotating attendance system for students in government and private schools and kindergartens.
Attendance (in-person learning) is now compulsory for all students, though on a rotation basis. The new system shall be applied after the end of the mid-term exams of the first semester, as of 1 November.
Rotational attendance means a group of students attends the school in the first week and the other in the second week on a rotation basis.
The Ministry has also decided to raise the average attendance rate in all government and private schools and kindergartens to 42 per cent of the capacity of schools, in accordance with the weekly rotating attendance schedule, with compulsory attendance starting from 1 November for public and private schools according to their academic calendar after the end of the mid-term exams of the first semester, which will start from 25 October and no later than 1 November, provided that the blended education system will be applied according to the weekly rotating attendance schedules.
Public health indicators
The Ministry said that the decision has been taken based on the public health indicators related to Covid-19 and the continuous monitoring and evaluation of the educational process in light of the pandemic and within the framework of the general situation data.
In this framework, all government and private schools are obligated to divide the total number of students at one level into classes with a maximum of 15 students per class, with adherence to a distance of 1.5 metres between each student and his classmate, and wearing masks according to the school stage.
The school shall organise the entry and exit of students from and to the school building to prevent crowding and maintain social distancing. Students with chronic diseases and have certified medical certificates are excluded from attendance to the school building during the first semester.
The Ministry of Education and Higher Education emphasises the need for all administrators and teachers to adhere to the precautionary measures and fully cooperate with the concerned authorities in the event of discovery or suspicion of any case of Covid-19 infection, and to deal firmly in the event of any violations in the application of precautionary measures in the schools, provided that violation of these obligations will entail legal action.
It is also permissible, with the prior approval of the Private Schools Affairs Department of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, to apply the two-shift system in private schools and kindergartens on a daily basis to cover the schooling hours in the school or kindergarten through the attendance of students in two periods, provided that the attendance rate does not exceed 42 per cent in one period, whether in classrooms or in the school as a whole, with the emphasis on thoroughly disinfecting surfaces between the two periods.
Specialised and technical schools, schools for people with special needs, and village schools are committed to the same attendance rates mentioned. In the schools that include a small number of students equal to the approved percentages, attendance for all students shall be 100 per cent five days a week, provided that the number of students in one class does not exceed 15 students with a maintained distance of 1.5 metres between students.
The schools will provide students with rotating schedules that clarify the days of attendance to the school building and the days in which they will receive distance learning, according to each school stage.
The Ministry of Education and Higher Education affirms that these amendments serve the interest of students and work on their gradual return to the school environment given its benefits on the academic achievement and the psychological and social aspects of the students, as the interaction within the school class between students and teachers on the one hand and among the students themselves, on the other hand, strengthens the students’ mental abilities and contribute to the success of the educational process.
The Ministry underlines that the health and safety of its students, teaching staff, administration and all school personnel is an utmost priority and that it takes, in cooperation with the concerned authorities headed by the Ministry of Public Health, all measures and procedures to protect the students and ensure their safety, as their physical and psychological health represents the highest priority within the framework of the educational process. According to the data, the general situation regarding the coronavirus in schools is very reassuring.
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