KUWAIT: Teachers set up a classroom at a public school in Mansouriya after they returned to work on campus yesterday. – Photo by Fouad Al-Shaikh

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: Around 60,000 teachers working at public and private Arab schools in the kindergarten, primary and intermediate stages returned to schools yesterday after an absence of 18 months due to closures as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Public and private Arabic school students are due to return to classrooms on Oct 3 amid stringent health conditions, including mandating teachers and a majority of students to be vaccinated.

Teachers who have not been fully vaccinated were turned away yesterday, prompting a dozen teachers to stage a symbolic protest outside the education ministry building. The ministry has asked unvaccinated teachers and students to bring a negative PCR test result every Sunday in order to be allowed to enter schools. In the beginning, some students will go to school on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, while another group will go on Mondays and Wednesdays. In the next week, they will swap attendance.

The fate of on-campus classes for private schools depends on their readiness and how they prepare for this hybrid model. Each school will enforce its own plan. For on-campus classes, schools have been advised to reduce the number of students per class. Authorities have also mandated school administrations to implement a one-meter distance between students. School canteens will remain closed, although the education ministry has created a list of food items students can bring with them to school.