Staff members of all public and private schools in Qatar have to undergo medical examinations before the start of the new academic year to ensure they are free of Covid-19, it has been announced.

The Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE), in co-ordination with the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), has issued a package of precautionary measures to ensure a safe and healthy environment at all public and private schools and educational institutions, the official Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported on Wednesday.

This comes as part of the MoEHE's efforts to "keep the educational process going under sound frameworks and strict health requirements".

"The new package reflects the ministry's keenness to provide proper protection for students, teachers and administrative staff from Covid-19," the report said.

Accordingly, all public school staff members will undergo medical examinations by the MoPH and Hamad Medical Corporation before the beginning of the school year to ensure that they are free of Covid-19.

All staff members of private schools will be examined by private healthcare providers before the beginning of the school year to ensure that they are free of the virus.

The priority of examination will be given to teachers followed by the administrative staff.

In this context, the MoEHE has stressed that all schools around the nation must comply with the precautionary health measures, which were previously announced by Health and Safety Department.

The ministry has warned that anyone who "willfully or negligently violates the preventive measures relating to epidemics and infectious diseases will be subjected to legal liability".

Under Law No 9 of 2020, which amends some provisions of Decree-Law No 17 of 1990 regarding the prevention of infectious diseases, the relevant punishment shall amount to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years and a fine not exceeding QR200,000, or either of the two penalties.

The MoEHE had recently announced an amended back-to-school plan, which includes the implementation of a blended learning system during the first term of the 2020/2021 school year across all educational stages and including government and private schools, higher education institutes and kindergartens.

According to the blended learning system, students have to attend classes at school from one to three times a week, maintaining an attendance rate of 30% of the total number of students on a single school day. The aim is to facilitate students attend the classes of basic subjects, perform practical experiments and sit for exams and tests.