Back to school in UAE: Covid vaccine, PCR testing rules in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah
Explained: How Covid safety measures differ in the three Emirates
A pan-UAE education protocol announced recently mandates routine PCR testing for Covid-vaccinated and unvaccinated students. However, according to the document released by the Ministry of Education (MoE), the protocols could be changed by the education regulators in each Emirate.
This means that each Emirate can have its own Covid safety rules. The Covid testing and vaccination requirements for Abu Dhabi and Dubai, for instance, are different.
Here are the Covid safety rules that will be followed in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah schools.
>> Abu Dhabi
The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) on Wednesday announced PCR testing requirements for all students. Earlier this month, it also released updated precautionary policies for the new academic year.
- All private and charter school students must produce a negative result of a nasal PCR or saliva test conducted within 14 days of returning to face-to-face learning. The rule is applicable regardless of age or vaccination status and covers students of determination.
- Students aged 16 and above must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to be allowed entry into schools.
- Those set to turn 16 years old after schools reopen — and wish to continue face-to-face learning — must receive their first dose of a UAE-approved vaccine within four weeks of their birthday.
- Distance learning will remain an option for children with chronic illnesses; for those aged 16 and above who are not vaccinated; and those who wish to continue learning online if the model is offered by their school.
According to Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), all teaching and learning in Dubai’s private schools will be in-person only from October 3, 2021.
- After October 3, students who wish to continue with distance learning must provide a medical certificate issued by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).
- Covid-19 vaccination is not compulsory for students or staff. Staff who are eligible to receive the vaccine, but choose not to get the jab, must submit a negative PCR test result each week.
- Students are not obliged to take PCR tests.
The Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA) has urged parents to encourage their children to get the vaccine.
- Students enrolled in schools in Sharjah won’t need to be mandatorily vaccinated against Covid-19.
- Those aged 12 and above will need to produce a negative Covid-19 PCR test result at the beginning of the academic term. There is no requirement for routine Covid-19 tests.
- Education sector employees would need to get both doses of the vaccine. The only exemption is those not eligible to get the vaccine on medical grounds. They would need to get an exemption report issued by official authorities in the UAE and must get a PCR test done every week.
- Students can opt for distance learning if they so wish.
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