Saudi Arabia suspends all schools amid coronavirus concerns

A school in the Qatif Governorate (Eastern Region Education Administration)

Saudi Arabia is suspending all schools, universities and educational institutions in the Kingdom; starting on Monday until further notice. This comes as part of efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, according to SPA.

“The decision to suspend all educational study comes as a continuation of the wise leadership’s interest in its children. It confirms its concern for their safety; besides, the provision of appropriate alternatives for continuing distance learning.” SPA reported citing an education ministry statement.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Education also directed the activation of “virtual schools” and distance learning during the suspension period.

Speaking to Al Arabiya, Saudi Arabian Minister for Education Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al Al-Sheikh the suspension will includes students, teachers, and administrators.

“We will not call them in to perform any tasks. This order applies to all public schools. As per universities, the decision to call up administrators or faculty will be left to university directors as they will need to continue online courses and see what fits their curriculums,” Al Al-Sheikh told Al Arabiya.

The decision to suspend school came on the same day the Kingdom imposed a temporary lockdown on the eastern Qatif province to prevent the spread of coronavirus after the infection of 11 people.

Authorities in Saudi Arabia also said that the suspension will include educational and Quranic activities at mosques.

Early on Monday, the  announced the closure of the Riyadh boulevard and winter wonderland due to concerns about the new coronavirus, according to state TV.