MOH News

Al-Abdulaali: Caution Still Needed, MOH Didn’t Ask for Re-Imposing Lockdown
25 October 2020

​The Assistant Minister of Health and MOH spokesman, Dr. Muhammad Al-Abdulaali, said that MOH has not requested imposing a Kingdom-wide lockdown, given that the current COVID-19 outbreak does not require tight precautionary measures. Moreover, it is unlikely that such measures would be needed, as long as we return to normal life, while committing ourselves to utmost caution.

Dr. Al-Abdulaali made these statements during the briefing held on Sunday, in which Ms. Ebtessam Al-Shahri, the Ministry of Education (MOE) spokeswoman, also participated.

The world is still recording significant increases in the number of COVID-19 cases, Al-Abdulaali said, with the current rates being the highest ever recorded. On the other hand, there is a drastic decline in the critical cases index in the Kingdom. It dropped to less than 9% compared to last week. He noted that one of the major differences between seasonal influenza and COVID-19 is the fact that there is a flu vaccine. Everyone is advised to take this vaccine this season. It is also essential to keep closed areas ventilated.
He stated that 323 new COVID-19 cases were recorded, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the Kingdom to 344,875, of which 8249 cases are active cases that still receive medical care, with the majority of them being in reassuring health conditions, while 767 are critical cases. The number of new recoveries is 335, bringing the total recoveries in the Kingdom to 331,330. Of the new cases, 43% are females, and 57% are males. Children make up 12% of these cases, adults 85%, and the elderly 3%. The number of new deaths is 15, bringing the total COVID-19 death toll to 5,296 deaths.

The number of laboratory tests conducted over the past 24 hours is 50,014, bringing the total tests in the Kingdom has 7,720,362, said Dr. Al-Abdulaali. He pointed out that medical services are still being provided by all MOH centers and facilities. ‘Taakkad’ centers have conducted 4,022,207 swabs, while ‘Tatamman’ clinics have provided their services to 1,380,220 outpatients. They have also provided health and medical consultations to 20,188,819 beneficiaries through the 937 call center.

For her part, Ms. Al-Shahri, the MOE spokeswoman, thanked the Kingdom’s leaders for their support for the educational process, that has been resumed remotely amid such exceptional circumstances. Despite the great challenges that education is facing across the world during the pandemic and lack of vision clarity in many countries, when it comes to decision making, the Kingdom, with the attestation of six international organizations, stood out as a global model in distance learning. The solutions it provided for students were advanced, ready, and diverse. Within eight weeks of distance learning this semester, MOE was able to overcome the challenges through a real community partnership with institutions, families, and the media. It relied on transparency, participation, interaction, and continuous development.

“We are aware that there are challenges that students may face, especially with regard to the dropout rate in distance education. But it is unfair to judge the quality of distance education during this pandemic. The reports we receive daily from the education departments show that students, teachers, and families now make double the effort they used to make. Moreover, tests remain a means for the greater objective, namely improving learning outcomes and reducing the dropout rate. Therefore, the Ministry's strategy focuses on utilizing the continuous interaction between students and their teachers on ‘Madrasati’ platform to measure learning outcomes on a weekly basis,” Al-Shahri said.

From this standpoint, MOE made the decision to redistribute the grades of classwork and final exams of each subject. This was based on academic reports showing that there is great interaction taking place on (Madrasati) platform. MOE decided that this interaction deserved to be acknowledged, evaluated and given more grades. 40 grades were allocated for classwork, and 10 grades for the final exams of elementary and preparatory levels. 

Secondary level grades were also redistributed according to the evaluation methods of each subject. This would ultimately increase classwork grades compared to final exams.

Al-Shahri explained that final exams of the first semester for year 1442AH will be done remotely through ‘Madrasati’ platform for public and private schools, or any other platforms used by private and international schools. However, attending exams at school remains an option for students who cannot take them online. This can happen on three conditions: obtaining the approval of the Director of Education and the student’s guardian, in addition to ensuring that the student’s school is ready to apply all precautionary measures during the time of the exam.

Furthermore, students who cannot access ‘Madrasati’ platform and have to take their classes on ‘Ain’ or YouTube channels are evaluated differently. They are assigned tests and homework delivered by their schools every week. When they are finished with these assignments, they send them back to the school to be corrected. This way, all educational objectives continue to be achieved. Moreover, MOE stresses that the educational process continues during the period of exams with the aim of providing students with educational enrichment to address any potential educational losses.

Al-Shahri added that teachers have made strenuous efforts that they must be thanked for. MOE would like to encourage them to continue the weekly evaluation processes that they started this year, and monitor classwork and formative evaluation grades. School principals and education bureaus and departments are also urged to continue their follow-ups on a weekly basis through reports.

Last Update : 26 October 2020 11:01 PM
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