Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus: Some Dubai schools switch to distance learning as Covid cases rise

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on January 17, 2021 | Last updated on January 17, 2021 at 10.49 pm
(Alamy image used for illustrative purpose)

Several schools in Dubai have moved to 100 per cent online learning, following an increase in Covid-19 cases. The UAE has been reporting 3,000-plus single-day cases over the past few days.

The country recorded 3,453 cases on Sunday.

Some schools have shifted to online education for a couple of weeks, after some cases were detected on campus.

A parent, on condition of anonymity, said: "My daughter's school sent out a letter last week, informing us that the campus would close for a week. The letter said that the school currently had some Covid-positive cases and others who were in self-isolation as they were in contact with positive cases."

In the letter, the school said the decision was in line with the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) guidelines and was approved by Dubai's education regulator, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).

Another parent shared a letter her child's school had sent out.

The letter read: "We are writing to let you know of ... confirmed diagnoses of Covid-19 within our school and of students who are in self-isolation having been identified as close contacts through track and trace.

"There is no need to panic. We've been planning for this possibility and we are ready to deal with it. We have been in constant contact with the DHA and KHDA about this difficult situation and are working closely with them."

Yet another parent also shared a letter from her ward's school that confirmed it had moved to online education. "My child's school had previously moved to online learning due to Covid-19 infection rates in the country," the parent said.

Education mode is flexible: KHDA

Meanwhile, a top KHDA official has urged the school community to stay calm.

Mohammed Darwish, CEO of Permits and Compliance at KHDA, said: "All private schools in Dubai continue to provide high-quality teaching and learning, whether online or face-to-face. During this time, it's important that we place our trust in the health and safety protocols that have been designed to protect school communities.

"These protocols give schools and parents flexibility to switch between distance and face-to-face learning so that students and staff can be safe in all circumstances. We're continuing to work closely with schools, parents and other government entities to make sure that protocols are followed and learning continues."

Health is priority: Schools

School representatives said decisions on mode of education are taken to ensure the highest safety standards.

Paul Slater, Vice President - Operations and Health, Safety and Environment, GEMS Education, said: "GEMS Education continues to work very closely with the UAE regulators and authorities to ensure we follow all the prescribed steps and take every precaution to safeguard our school communities.

"The health and safety of our students and staff is our number one priority and all decisions around whether to adopt in-person, remote or blended learning are made with this in mind and with the full approval and support of the relevant authorities."

Shahida Patel, Head of Admissions, Taaleem Schools, said: "We continue to follow very clear guidelines from KHDA and DHA and currently all of our schools are open. Our families are regularly provided with up to date information and fully supported whether they opt for in-school or online-learning for their children."

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