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Ensuring a safe school environment

Sep 02,2020 - Last updated at Sep 02,2020

Around 2.145 million students across the Kingdom returned to school on Tuesday at the start of the 2020/2021 academic year amid a set of new health measures put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus among pupils.

The reopening of schools was met with relief by parents and society as a sign of a return to normalcy. However, concerns still linger over fears that the classrooms could be a breeding ground for the virus.

Prior to the commencement of the new academic year, the Ministry of Education said that around 90,000 teachers had resumed their duties last week to prepare schools to receive students, arrange class schedules and get trained on health protocols to provide a proper and encouraging environment for students.

Resuming in-class education amidst exceptional circumstances after six months of remote education imposed by the pandemic warrants continued vigilance in dealing with the epidemiological developments in the Kingdom.

The continuation of the education process is of paramount importance to the students who are the future of the country. Needless to say, protecting their health and that of all of those involved in classroom learning is equally important.

For this reason, it is crucial to conduct random and frequent inspection tours of private, public and UNRWA schools to check on the compliance with the health and safety instructions.

The relevant authorities must ensure that teachers and students alike are constantly reminded of the importance of physical distancing, wearing masks and washing their hands regularly, measures that could be daunting to implement on ground in light of a lack of resources in many schools. Notwithstanding, the country can ill afford the consequences of any shortcomings in enforcing a strict safety regime. A safe school environment is the need of the hour.

Ensuring that schools are safe places is a shared responsibility by all. Teachers, principals, parents and students alike have a role to play in adhering to health measures imposed by the current situation. 

Vigilance, adherence to health protocols and constant oversight in addition to timely remedial measures can go a long way in curbing the spread of the virus in schools. 

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