The Ministry of Education and Higher Education issued a circular to the directors of public and private schools and kindergartens on the amendment of school hours for students and working hours for teaching and administrative staff after the mid-term leave of the second semester. It is in order to achieve the public interest, preserve students' health and safety, and it is in line with the procedures in place in order to address the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in cooperation and coordination with the Ministry of Public Health.
According to the circular, the Ministry has set student attendance at 30% of the approved capacity of the school building, as of Sunday 3/21/2021, with the continuation of the blended education system, and the continued commitment to applying all the approved precautionary measures.
The circular also included many controls and guidelines for public and private schools and kindergartens to preserve students' health and safety and to ensure quality education for them, including:
These include the commitment to keep the working hours for the teaching and administrative staff at a rate of 100% in the school building, the continuation of blended learning for students with an attendance rate of 30% in the school building so that each school prepares a school schedule commensurate with its absorptive capacity, the attendance of students to direct broadcast lessons according to the approved school schedule during the days of their distance learning, and the application of full time for students of village schools with low density (by 100%), as well as the application of full time for students of specialized schools of low density (by 100%), taking into account the approved preventive measures.
Public schools will also send text messages to parents about their children's time in the school building, and they will distribute students into groups so that one class accommodates a maximum of 15 students. They will use open spaces in the school building and convert them into classes to achieve social distancing of no less than (1.5) meters between each student and another.
Schools will continue to apply all precautionary measures to ensure the safety of students and employees in the school building and to adhere to previous circulars issued by the Ministry's security and safety department regarding canceling the morning queue and group activities such as trips, camps and celebrations and converting them into virtual whenever possible.
School administrations shall calculate the absence of students and notify them and their parents of the importance of coming to the school and following up direct broadcast lessons, applying the attendance and absence policy, and making statistics periodically to manage school affairs.
The Ministry also stressed the importance of continuing to apply the same school schedule, as working hours start at 7:15 am and end at 12:30 pm. The school schedule shall include 30 lessons per week, six classes a day, so that the class time is 45 minutes, with five minutes as a break between classes.
The Ministry also called for ensuring the organization of remedial lessons to help students in basic subjects after school hours from 12:30 - 2:00 pm, and that student enrollment in them is optional.
These include determining the percentage of actual attendance in the building by the school or kindergarten in proportion to the needs of each class, with an emphasis on adherence to 30 percent of the approved capacity of the building, and with a maximum of 15 students per classroom, pointing out to the need to adhere to the social distancing of not less than (1.5) meters between students.
The Ministry of Education and Higher Education also affirmed in its circular that the "distance learning" system will continue to be applied in private schools on days when students do not come to the school building, according to the schedules planned by the school or private kindergarten, stressing the necessity of daily monitoring of attendance and absence on the NSIS system. The Ministry noted that taking tests and exams in the school building should be done through a schedule organized by the school and ensuring social distancing between students.
Each private school or kindergarten has the authority to determine the daily hours for blended learning, provided that it is not less than four hours per day for the school, and two hours per day for kindergarten, as well as the possibility of applying the two-shift system with the requirement to obtain the approval of the Department of Private Schools Affairs and the approval of the parent for the second period, in addition to the need to sanitize the classes between the two periods. The Ministry stressed the need to continue the school calendar in the private school or kindergarten as approved during this year.
Continuing to exclude students with a chronic disease and a medical certificate, provided that their attendance is remotely and that they perform the second-semester exams with physical attendance according to the procedures for such cases. It should be noted that the chronic disease certificate can be obtained through (My Health) portal, and it is also possible to contact the number (107) in the event of any inquiries regarding the issuance of sick certificates.
Source: Qatar News Agency
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