Egypt’s Ministry of Education issued, on Tuesday, a decree to reduce the number of in-office employees at its headquarters, as well as its affiliated bodies and entities.
The measure comes as a precautionary measure to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), as Egypt is currently witnessing an increase in virus-related infections and deaths.
The ministry added that there will be a return to paid exceptional leave, with workers at the ministry and its affiliated entities undertaking a three-day rotational work week, with the days on which they work set. Every employee returning from abroad will have 15 days as exceptional leave which will begin from the date of their return.
The Ministry of Education highlighted that any employee testing positive for the coronavirus, suspected of having contracted the virus, or who has been in contact with a positive case, will be granted exceptional leave. This will mean leave of not less than 14 days, which can be extended until their recovery.
It added that the heads of entities, sectors, bodies, and directors are allowed to summon employees depending on work needs during the week, or assign them to work from home.
Employees who have the right to exceptional leave are those who suffer from chronic diseases, pregnant women, women with children under 12 years old, and women who take care of children with special needs whatever their age.
Meanwhile, Minister of Education Tarek Shawky said in televised remarks that there is no intention to shut down schools, and that mid-year exams will be held on time. He said that the decision of closing schools will be a state decision.
Earlier in November, Shawky said that coronavirus infections in schools ranged between 200 and 300 cases across 60,000 schools, most of whom were adults rather than students.
Ahead of the new academic year starting in mid-October, the ministry said that it will take strict precautionary measures to limit the spread of the virus among students, teachers, and other education sector workers.
The measures include: providing a health visitor at each school; allocating a quarantine room for isolating suspected coronavirus cases; ensuring adherence to social distancing; reducing the number of students in classrooms; measuring students’ temperatures regularly; disinfecting classrooms and schoolyards; and providing disinfectants.
Egypt has witnessed an increase in its confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in recent days, after several months of decline. The Ministry of Health reported, on Monday, a total of 415 new coronavirus cases and 19 new fatalities, bringing the country’s total to 118,847 confirmed cases and 6,790 deaths, with 103,703 recoveries.