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Qatif region cordoned off after report of all 11 corona cases Schools, educational institutes closed for two weeks; studies through virtual classes
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 08 - 03 - 2020

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia has cordoned off Qatif region in the Eastern Province in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus after discovering that all the 11 affected persons in the Kingdom are from the said region.
"Given that all 11 recorded positive cases of the new coronavirus are from Qatif... it has been decided to temporarily suspend entry and exit from Qatif," the Ministry of Interior said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.
Movement from and into the province stands temporarily suspended, but residents who are currently outside the area will be allowed back in.
Government and private sector work premises have been temporarily shut down, except those providing essential services and security, such as pharmacies, gas stations, healthcare, environmental, municipal and security facilities and shops. However, transportation of consumer items and supplies are still being allowed into the province, but with certain measures to ensure public health.
All schools, and university and professional educational institutes will remain closed for two weeks from Sunday.
The entry and exit ban will be applicable to all areas from Saihat in the south to Safwa in the north in the governorate.
Anyone affected by these procedures will be granted medical leave issued electronically and approved by the Ministry of Health.
The ministry source emphasized that the continued cooperation of all citizens in implementing the precautionary measures would have the greatest impact on the success of the measures taken. "It will also enable concerned health authorities to provide the best medical care so as to prevent the spread of the virus and eliminate it in a way ensuring safety for all.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education decided to temporarily suspend studies in all schools, public and university education institutions, and the public and private technical and vocational training institutes in the Qatif governorate for a period of two weeks, effective from Sunday. The ministry also decided to activate functioning of virtual schools and distance education during the suspension period of study in order to ensure continuation of the educational process effectively with maintaining its quality.
The measures were taken by the concerned committee in the ministry in implementation of the decision of Minister of Education in this regard. The committee, chaired by Deputy Minister of Education Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Asimi, held a follow-up meeting to review the procedures for implementing the decision.
The meeting decided that the educational and administrative staff in each school, institute, and college should carry out functional tasks in order to follow the educational process, coordinate the procedures of distance education, and respond to the inquiries of parents.
It is also decided to ensure that the virtual school is ready to start during the period of suspension of studies in the governorate, and this will be through distance learning provided by the Ministry of Education through the virtual school platform (Vschool.sa). This portal will provide all services as an alternative to complete educational operations, and does not require the student to attend school.
This is done by providing lessons simultaneously, solving assignments, and using digital enrichment materials via the website and application in the Apple and Android app store under the title "Unified Education System."
Teaching lessons will be provided for all levels of education asynchronously through the Ain channel, which broadcasts on the Arabsat frequency 12437 vertical through 14 television channels. The minister also directed governor of the General Organization for Technical and Vocational Training and president of Imam Abdul Rahman Bin Faisal University to work on implementing the minister's decision in each field of learning.

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