The regional education academy acknowledged the veracity of the photo, noting that the classroom is located in a primary school in Meknes.
Rabat – The Regional Academy for Education and Training of the Fez-Meknes region issued today an explanatory statement regarding a photo of a primary school classroom, which shows the school’s violation of Morocco’s COVID-19 health protocol.
The photo went viral on social media on September 7, the first day of the 2020-2021 school year. It shows a primary school classroom with three young students sitting close together at each table.
Some students were wearing face masks, while others were not.
The academy acknowledged the veracity of the photo, noting that the classroom is located in the primary school of Abdelkhalek Torres in Meknes, northern Morocco.
The statement came to clarify the circumstances of the photo, which had become the subject of a public controversy. The academy noted that the classroom did not respect the protocol of social distancing that the Morocco’s Ministry of Education issued in its notice 039×20.
After sending a committee to investigate the circumstances at the school, the regional office revealed that the establishment operates in otherwise good conditions. It counted eight classrooms and 414 students.
The students are divided into 15 groups, with an average of 28 students per group.
The academy announced that the school did not respect the requirements of notice 0369×20, by placing three groups in one classroom rather than separating them.
In order to implement the health protocol for Morocco’s 2020-2021 academic year, the academy took all the necessary measures to fix the situation.
Morocco’s regional education authority also pledged to determine the parties responsible for the clear violation of health protocol visible in the classroom photo.
The image sparked controversy on the first day of the 2020-2021 school year, not only for the danger it depicts, but also over the minister of education’s reaction.
Rather than saying the ministry would pursue those involved in the violation the classroom photo depicts, Morocco’s education minister vowed legal action against the persons who “photographed the students in this position and endangered their lives.”
“A person published a picture showing pupils in crowded classrooms without any respect and commitment to the preventive measures stipulated in health protocol at the level of all educational institutions,” he said.
A few hours after Moroccan netizens expressed outrage, the Moroccan official deleted the post, and issued an “additional clarification” that his ministry will take action specifically against the individuals responsible for the unsafe conditions.