Muscat: Students in Oman who do not wish to return to school once they reopen, but wish to continue their online learning due to concerns over possible infection by COVID-19 can do so, the Undersecretary for Education at the Ministry of Education has said.
“The epidemiological indicators currently show a rise in the numbers of deaths and cases of infections, so the ministry is thinking of an alternative scenario for students, which is e-learning,” said Dr Abdullah bin Khamis Ambosaidi.
“This decision will be taken by the Supreme Committee to deal with COVID-19, and the Ministry of Education will implement these decisions.”
“The ministry will not sacrifice the health of its students, so if there is any risk to their health, the option of e-learning will be made available to them,” he added. The Undersecretary for Education was speaking to Al Shabiba, the sister Arabic publication of the Times of Oman.
Abdullah Ambosaidi also requested people to not exaggerate the current situation and make a bigger deal out of it than required. He said that now was the time for people to come together and support each other, with the decision for pupils to return to schools being put into effect by the Supreme Committee.
“The ministry did not take the decision of reopening schools until all the options were presented to the committee,” said the undersecretary.
“The directives to return to schools in this manner came from the highest decision-making authorities in this country. The decision was made to plan for this return in November, so that we could assess the epidemiological situation. We will not expose our students to dangerous situations.”
With the ministry working closely with the Supreme Committee to deal with coronavirus (COVID-19), the undersecretary also said parents and guardians of students had the right to not send them to school, if they felt they were in danger of being exposed to infection.
However, they must undertake certain obligations with the ministry towards ensuring their child is able to receive the appropriate standards of education.
“The guardian must sign an undertaking which says his son or daughter aims to study through e-learning, and the student must commit to taking the exams designated for the subjects he or she is studying,” said Ambosaidi.
“The first working day on which teachers returned to schools went well, and additional efforts to spread awareness of the measures required right now were taken by some directorates of education,” he added.
“We noticed some teachers holding small celebrations marking the return to schools, so we will issue a circular to school administrators asking staff to remember to maintain physical distancing and pay attention to the rules currently in place.”