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Schools to open for grades 7, 8 in August: Education Min

Shahudha Mohamed
22 July 2020, MVT 13:48
A teacher checking the body temperature of students at the gate of Majeedhiyya School. Ministry of Education reopened schools on July 1, after a long period of closure since March 12. PHOTO: MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
22 July 2020, MVT 13:48

Ministry of Education announced on Tuesday that schools in the capital Male' area will open for students of seventh and eighth grades during the month of August.

Education Minister of State Athiya Naseer told local media Mihaaru that the decision was made with the counsel of Health Protection Agency (HPA).

She stated that the exact date for resuming education for these grades will be announced soon.

After a long period of closure since March 12 to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Maldives, the ministry reopened schools on July 1, with precautionary measures approved by HPA.

In order to maintain social distance in school settings, the number of students in classrooms has now been reduced from approximately 32 to 16. However, Athiya assured that schools can be managed even if education resumes for more grades.

At the moment, the education ministry has decided that only students in grade nine onwards will attend school in islands placed under monitoring. Other grades will be taught via online means.

Athiya noted that it is important to consider the concerns of parents while gearing up to resume schooling for additional grades.

With that said, she stressed that the lack of a COVID-19 cluster linked to any of the schools prove that the current precautionary measures under implementation are effective.

She further assured that school environments are a safe place for all students.

"Looking at the four to five cases identified in schools, they did not pass it on to anyone else. That means the precautionary measures are satisfactory. The students also follow the guidelines very well", she said.

In addition, Athiya noted that educational experts all over the globe agree that students staying at home for such a long period of time is not the best option.

Therefore, she maintained that it is important for parents to send their children to school, as there has not been any community spread in schools.

"WHO and UNICEF both agree that it is not good to stay home for such a long period of time. Education is the most important thing for the children's future. [Keeping them from school] will disrupt their learning habits".

The current schooling systems in Maldives function in three different ways. In the first arrangement, schools that conducted single sessions pre-COVID-19 are continuing with the same arrangement, within HPA's guidelines.

In the second arrangement, the school day is divided into two sessions, while the third arrangement ensures maximum physical distancing by conducting classes for two batches of students every other day. Most schools in the Greater Male' region are presently following the third arrangement.

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