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Covid-19: Only in-person learning at Dubai schools from Oct 3

Sahim Salim /Dubai
sahim@khaleejtimes.com Filed on August 23, 2021 | Last updated on August 23, 2021 at 11.33 pm

All you need to know: Covid vaccination not mandatory; school buses to operate at 100% capacity


From October 3, 2021, all teaching and learning in Dubai’s private schools will be in-person only. After this date, students who wish to continue with distance learning must provide a medical certificate issued by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).

Listen to this story and more on the 8@8 with David Light podcast

Class groups or grade/year levels may temporarily switch to distance learning if positive cases of Covid-19 are detected.

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For just over a month after the new academic year starts on August 29, schools will offer students the option for remote learning. This model will be in place until October 3, after which all schools will return to full in-person learning, Dubai's Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management announced on Monday.

Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) also announced revised Covid safety protocols for the new academic term.

Vaccination

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.

About 96 per cent of teachers and over 70 per cent students aged 12-17 are vaccinated against Covid-19, the committee added.

Buses to run at full capacity

Buses may run at fully capacity, provided they comply with health and safety protocols around sanitisation and ventilation, among others.

Extracurricular activities

Schools can resume extracurricular activities, provided they comply with Covid safety measures.

These include swimming and sports lessons; school trips, excursions and camps; after-hours extra-curricular activities and performances; assemblies and other events at school or at an external venue.

“We continue to live in uncertain times, and the relaxation in restrictions is a privilege. To continue to enjoy these freedoms throughout the academic year, it is crucial that students, parents and school staff fully comply with the protocols at all times,” the KHDA said.

Social distancing

Physical distancing at schools has been reduced from 1.5 metres to one. “Schools must take appropriate precautions to ensure that students and teachers stay physically distanced where possible,” the KHDA said.

Masks

Students older than six years, staff and visitors to schools must continue to wear face masks.

Covid safety at schools

Schools will follow thorough Dubai Government health and safety protocols. Similar to last academic year, these will include guidance on sanitisation, teaching and learning materials, and external visitors to the school.

“Strict adherence to safety protocols will ensure the success of the full in-person learning model in private schools,” Dubai's Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management said.

The committee adopted the decision after extensive consultation with parents and school operators.

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Wearing masks must for teachers in classrooms

Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the supreme committee, said the move is a proactive step to accelerate Dubai’s return to normalcy. The committee has directed authorities to work closely with Dubai's educational community to ensure streamlined compliance with precautionary measures and health protocols.

The decision reflects Dubai’s effective Covid-19 measures and successful vaccination campaign as well as efforts to ease the pandemic’s economic and social repercussions.

“The concerted efforts and cooperation of everyone in the educational ecosystem is critical to ensuring that private schools can offer in-person learning in a safe environment,” Sheikh Mansoor added.

The supreme committee will continue to evaluate the progress of in-person learning and monitor various Covid-19 related indicators “to ensure there is no compromise on the levels of protection provided in schools”.

On Sunday, the Ministry of Education had released a Covid-19 vaccination and PCR testing protocol for students opting for in-person learning. However, the ministry said the protocols could be changed by the education regulators in each Emirate.

Authorities in Abu Dhabi had earlier announced that all students aged 12 and above will need to take PCR tests every two weeks.

According to Sharjah’s education regulator, students 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.

sahim@khaleejtimes.com

Sahim Salim





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