Saudi Arabia extends distance learning until end of 2020

Education minister says distance learning will continue at Saudi schools until end of first term of educational year which concludes in December.

CAIRO - Distance learning will continue at Saudi schools until the end of the first term of the educational year, which concludes in December, Saudi Arabia's education minister Hamad bin Mohammed Al Shaikh announced via Twitter on Thursday.

In August, the minister said public schools would implement distance learning for the first seven weeks of the new term, which started on Aug. 30, as a precaution against coronavirus.

Saudi Arabia has seen more than 338,000 cases of the virus since the outbreak began in the Gulf at the start of the year. Neighbouring United Arab Emirates had announced that parents would be able to choose whether their children attended classes in person or online for the first term, which began on August 30.

Saudi Arabia, which held a largely symbolic haj pilgrimage earlier this year limited to domestic worshippers, has allowed citizens and residents to start the umrah pilgrimage as of October 4 at 30% capacity, or 6,000 pilgrims a day.