400,000+ students return to school after 19 months
KUWAIT: Students attend class at a school in Salmiya after public schools reopened for on-campus learning yesterday for the first time after 19 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. – Photo by Yasser Al-Zayyat
KUWAIT: More than 400,000 students of public and private Arabic schools returned to campuses yesterday for the 2021-22 academic year after 19 months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Safe Education” project – a collaboration between the ministries of interior, education, health, and information – was launched to protect all students in education facilities from the coronavirus and prevent its spread. Some private foreign and bilingual schools had reopened on Sept 26 for in-person classes.
Education Minister Ali Al-Mudhaf affirmed yesterday that the ministry is ready for the beginning of the new school year, with all its challenges. “In the past six months, the ministry of education – in cooperation with the ministry of health – has worked on preparing schools and faculty members to provide a safe environment for everyone,” Mudhaf said during a visit to a number of schools.
“Cooperation with the ministry of health led to creating a new guidebook of safety measures, and we will reassess the situation at the end of the year to come up with appropriate decisions,” he said. “I am proud of what I saw today as it reflects the amount of work and dedication of all those concerned to assure a happy and safe school year,” Mudhaf added.
Meanwhile, the education ministry informed schools to allow students, teaching staff and parents who have taken one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on campuses. Weekly PCR tests are required for students aged 12 and above and teachers who are not vaccinated, the ministry added.
The maximum capacity for any classroom is 20 students, with students sitting one to two meters apart. Masks should be worn at all times. Classes are divided into two groups: The first group will go to school on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, while the second group will go on Monday and Wednesday. In the following week, the groups will swap attendance. The duration of each period has been extended to one hour from 45 minutes to allow teachers to compensate for any loss in education due to the closure of schools from last year due to the pandemic.
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