Assistant Undersecretary for Educational Affairs, Ms. Fawziya Abdulaziz Al-Khater, has confirmed that the Ministry of Education will continue blended learning approach in public schools for the academic year 2021/2022, where 50% of students will be rotated in attending schools across all grade levels. Such approach has been adopted after coordination and consultation with the Ministry of Public Health, in light of the current situation analysis and COVID-19 infection rates in the country, and measures undertaken by other countries in this regard.
In a press release, Al-Khater confirmed that the Educational Affairs Sector of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education has planned and implemented a package of targeted measures in preparation for the new academic year 2021/2022, ensuring an effective kick-off across all grade levels in a healthy and safe school environment.
Al-Khater added that blended learning will be through face-to-face learning and online learning using Microsoft Teams, as per the rotation plan set by the school.
However, she said, in low-density schools in remote areas and low-density specialized schools, and specialty schools for students with disabilities, all students in such schools will be attending with 100% face-to-face learning.
Al-Khater said that the ministry has put in place several measures in preparation for the new school year, including the need for school administrations to adhere to precautionary measures to ensure the students and staff safety in schools and the need for having nursing staff within the school premises on a daily basis. Measure also included educating new students and parents about school policy in dealing with and preventing COVID-19. In addition, all visitors and employees must show “Ehteraz" application and have their temperature checked before entering school premises. Furthermore, any COVID-19 infections must be reported immediately to the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Education, and in case of increased number of COVID-19 cases reported, the respective school or KG will have to switch to 100% online learning with the approval from the Ministry of Public Health.
Al-Khater stated that, according to circular no. 16/2020, students must attend 5 days in every two consecutive weeks; teachers must teach 30 lessons per week across all grades; reduce school hours to be from 7:15 to 12:30 with six 45-minute lessons per day, and a 25-minute recess.
She added: “children in kindergartens with attend at a rate of 50% for the academic year 2021/2022. The Ministry of Education has issued guidelines for face-to-face and online learning in kindergartens with a maximum 15 student per classroom and the distribution of students among the people So that one division includes a maximum of 15 students, with the need to utilize the school theater and sports halls as classrooms to maintain social distancing. Kindergartens need to communicate with parents informing them of their children's rotation. In addition morning assemblies, group activities such as excursions, camps and celebrations are to be cancelled and to be organized virtually where applicable.
For student assessment throughout K-12 grade levels, Al-Khater said that an examination schedule has been put in place along with guidelines for assessing students across all grade levels in such a manner that is suitable for blended learning, including assignments, assessments, projects, engagement and interaction via the online platform.
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