Plans begin for August 30 Saudi 'back to school day' after virus

The Kingdom closed schools and universities on March 9

  
Image for illustrative purpose. Saudi elementary students from Children's World School sit for an exam in Jeddah.

Image for illustrative purpose. Saudi elementary students from Children's World School sit for an exam in Jeddah.

REUTERS/STR New

JEDDAH: Saudi parents, children, teachers and education chiefs began preparations in earnest on Wednesday for the new post-coronavirus school year to begin on Aug. 30.

Education Minister Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh held a virtual meeting with education directors from throughout the Kingdom to discuss preparations for the big return.

The minister called for the completion of all maintenance and operational work at schools and educational facilities in preparation for the new term, with full provision of hygiene equipment and sanitizers, and access to books and educational materials. He also urged investment in teacher training on remote education programs.

It was essential to observe preventive measures against the spread of the coronavirus, he said, with appropriate training if necessary.

The Kingdom closed schools and universities on March 9 as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, and introduced remote learning systems. Despite the continuing reduction in virus cases, some parents would like distance learning to continue.

“With children, no matter how careful staff and teachers are, they’re out of control and this could lead to a spread in the pandemic worse than before,” one mother, Amal Turkistani, told Arab News.

“I would prefer that they continue schooling remotely, or part-time. I really don’t think it’s a good idea right now when the world hasn’t yet found a cure. I’m not sure if I’ll be sending my son to school.”

Another mother, Reham Al-Mistadi, said children did not understand the concept of social distancing and would not observe it.

“It is difficult to have children attend school,” she said. “They’re just kids, they’re unaware of the importance of social distancing and using sanitizers.

It will also be difficult for teachers to control the situation because children love to move around and play with the other children.

“The best option is distance education, although it is difficult for children at this stage.”

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© Arab News 2020

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