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Saudi Arabia to close schools indefinitely from Monday

Saudi Arabia to close schools indefinitely from Monday

The education ministry said the “preventive and precautionary” measures were recommended by the health authorities to protect students and staff

Schools and universities across Saudi Arabia will be closed from Monday, March 9, until further notice to control the spread of coronavirus, reported official news channel Saudi Press Agency.

The decision covers all educational institutions, including public and private schools, technical and vocational training institutions too.

Read: GCC coronavirus update: Total cases surge past 190

The Saudi Ministry of Education said the “preventive and precautionary” measures were recommended by the health authorities to protect students and staff.

“The Minister of Education directed that virtual schools and distance education be activated while the schools are closed to ensure that the educational process continues in an effective and quality manner,” the ministry added.

The kingdom’s education minister, Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh, said that they are conducting daily and weekly evaluations before deciding on the date when students can return to school.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia announced that four additional cases of the virus had been detected in the country.

The first case is that of a citizen who was in contact with a previously announced case in Al-Qatif Governorate; the second and third cases were of Bahraini women coming from Iraq on their way to Bahrain; while the fourth case was of a US resident returning from travel, having passed through the Philippines and Italy before arriving in the kingdom.

The total number of coronavirus cases in Saudi now stands at 15.

Read: UAE students returning from abroad subject to mandatory 14-day home quarantine

The decision to close schools follows similar measures implemented in other GCC states including Bahrain, Kuwait and the UAE.

In the UAE, the ministry of Education announced that all schools in the country would be closed for four weeks from Sunday, March 8.

However, the spring break for students will extend for two weeks from March 8 until March 19, following which educational institutions will have to facilitate distance learning programmes for the next two weeks.

The decision in the UAE too was applicable to all public and private schools.

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