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Attendance in schools extended to 50 percent - blended learning still in place

29 December 2020

The Ministry of Education and Higher Education has decided to increase the rate of attendance in public and private schools / preschools to 50 percent of their capacity and has decided to continue with blended learning.

The decision has been taken in light of the evaluation and constant follow-up of the educational process, and is based on the direct coordination with the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) and Covid-19 indicators.

Students will attend schools every week on a rotating schedule in each school. For public schools, compulsory attendance will begin during the second term, starting 3rd January 2021. As for private schools, students will attend their classes as per the academic calendar of each school, with 10th January being maximum start date.

The Blended Learning approach will continue to be implemented as well. In this context, all schools and preschools are required to arrange for implementing 50 percent rotational on-site school attendance. Therefore, 50 percent of the registered students in school will attend in-person classes in the first week and then study remotely the following week.

The other 50 percent of the school students will attend in the second week of term 2 once they have already studied remotely in the first week. The Ministry reaffirms its constant observation and monitoring of attendance on a regular basis.

The classroom size should be limited to 15 students per class. Desks should be kept in a safe distance of 1.5m apart. Further, students are required to wear face masks regularly, depending on academic stage.

Schools will organize the entry and exit of students to schools’ buildings to avoid overcrowding and maintain physical distancing.  Students with chronic illness are exempted from in-person attendance and they can attend lessons remotely, supported by approved medical report.

All teachers and administrative staff are required to be present full-time in schools and should strictly observe precautionary measures and fully cooperate with concerned authorities if any Covid-19 cases are confirmed or suspected.

Strict measures and legal actions would be taken against any school that violates the precautionary measures.

Students in specialized, special needs, technical and those in remove villages which are schools in low density, should attend in full capacity daily. The schools can however, split the students into small groups of 15 students in each classroom and maintain at least 1.5m between students.

With the prior approval of MOEHE, private schools and preschools can also seek double-shift system daily to cover the required school hours. However, it should be ensured that attendance does not exceed 50 percent of the school capacity per shift. All facilities should be sterilized properly during intervals or between shifts.

The Ministry gives prime importance to the health and safety of students, teachers and administrative staff. Hence, care is taken to ensure that all necessary precautionary measures are in place in all educational institutions.

The Ministry also emphasizes that increasing the attendance to 50 percent is in the best interest of students, and to facilitate their gradual return to the school environment.

Robin Vinod

Writer/blogger who writes on topics such as travel, real estate, employment and everyday life on GCC countries.

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