The Ministry of Education has formed epidemiological investigation teams for schools to support the efforts of the Ministry of Health to detect any COVID-19 cases in schools, according to H E Dr Abdullah bin Khamis bin Ali Ambusaidi, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Education.
He informed that the decision to gradually reopen schools by applying blended learning will be assessed in accordance with the epidemiological situation in the country.
“We assure all that not all students will go back to school on Sunday. There will be a gradual return to schools this week with focus on making this transition in a safe and easy way. Returning back to school is subject to the epidemiological evaluation of the situation in the sultanate. Parents have the right not to send their children to school but must also ensure their children’s right to education,” H E Ambusaidi said.
He noted that the epidemiological situation is under continuous evaluation. “There are also other possible considerations upon which decisions will be taken on either returning to school or continuing blended learning in the second semester. If the pandemic continues to exist, the conceived scenario is sticking to blended learning. Face-to-face instructions will be held differently during the second semester of this academic year, in line with the epidemiological situation. The decision on gradual return of students to schools was based on positive results, while implementing health protocols in the first phase.”
According to Dr Ali bin Humaid al Jahwari, director general of the General Directorate of Education in Governorate of Muscat, school buses are available and the ministry has been ready for the step being taken today since a long time. Bus contracts were signed at the beginning of November 2020.
Under the school operation plans, the number of buses required has been taken into consideration. “The ministry has requested that the capacity of each bus should not exceed 50 per cent of total capacity, among other precautionary measures in buses. Temperature measuring devices and sterilisers will be provided for each bus. It’s important that school administrations meet the bus drivers to inform them of the health and preventive measures,” Jahwari said.