Starting next week, parents will be given the choice between continuing blended learning or switching completely to remote schooling for their children. The decision was announced by Mohammed Al-Beshri, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Education.
Despite being given the choice, blended learning shall remain applicable in all public and private schools, while maintaining a maximum attendance rate of 30% and observing all precautionary measures. It will also be mandatory for students to attend exams in school.
In a joint press conference by the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, experts said that out of more than 350,000 students and over 35,000 teachers in Qatar less than 0.2 percent have tested positive for coronavirus since schools reopened.
“In nearly two weeks since students returned to school, we have identified a small number of positive cases among children and teachers. While any new case among children is of concern, it is important that we put this into context,” said Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, Chair of the National Strategic Group on COVID-19 and Head of the Infectious Diseases Division at Hamad Medical Corporation.
While there have been a small number of positive cases reported, the track-and-trace teams have found that patients caught the virus at home or during social gatherings, not at school.
Monday’s announcement came after a few teachers and students were found to be COVID-19 positive in recent days.
In a statement to parents, French school Lycee Bonaparte de Doha, confirmed that a student was diagnosed positive on September 13. The school also told parents that a list of all other students present in the class was sent to the MoPH and they will all be contacted for testing.
This week Qatar announced it would be introducing saliva-based testing for children in a bid to increase the rate of testing among school pupils and further allay fears of the spread of the virus in educational institutions. However there are still concerns, with many people noting that the virus has witnessed a resurgence in several European countries like France and the UK since schools reopened earlier this month.
Do you think blended learning should still be an option?