Coronavirus Pandemic

Covid-19: Play areas, canteens to reopen in Abu Dhabi schools

Staff Report/Dubai
Filed on August 2, 2021

Adek has unveiled a raft of updated precautionary Covid safety policies for the new academic year.

Open play areas, canteens, physical education classes, and extracurricular programmes will resume in Abu Dhabi schools as campus learning begins after the summer break in September.

The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) has unveiled a raft of updated precautionary Covid safety policies for the new academic year.

While the back-to-school policies aim to facilitate a safe return to in-class education for as many pupils as possible, distance learning will remain an option for children with chronic illnesses; for those aged 16 and above who are not vaccinated; and for those who wish to continue learning online if the model is offered by their school.

Physical distancing will be scaled down to one metre within classrooms and throughout school grounds, enabling increased classroom capacities. This will allow the maximum number of students to get as much face-to-face contact with their teachers and peers, “which is important for their intellectual, physical, social-emotional development and wellbeing”.

Class bubbles

Schools are set to continue operating macro bubbles for the new academic year to reduce the risk and magnitude of Covid-19 transmission among school groups and reduce shifts to distance learning.

Class bubble sizes for younger students in Kindergarten and Cycle 1 (Grade 2/Year 3 and below) who do not practise social distancing has been increased from 10 to 16 per bubble.

Communal areas

Communal areas vital to interaction and socialisation will reopen, including play areas for younger students. Cooking will be permitted as long as food is served by designated staff members and as per Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority regulations, such as serving food in individual portions.

PE classes

Students are also set to resume physical education (PE) classes and sports, including swimming - with special arrangements and adaptations based on risk assessment. Schools are required to sanitise recreational areas and equipment between groups.

Extracurricular activities

They can be resumed for a school’s own students. Schools must complete a risk assessment and implement safe operation policies, including physical distancing and mask-wearing. The rental of school sports facilities to outside parties remains suspended.

Sara Musallam, chairman of Adek, said: “Building on our experience over the past year, and in close coordination with health authorities, educators and parents, we are confident the new academic year will get off to a great and safe start with these updated policies in place.

“Our priority is to ensure as many students get the chance to enjoy quality face-to-face learning, which is vital for their intellectual, physical and social-emotional development and wellbeing. We will constantly review the policies to ensure all possible measures are in place to keep our educators, students and communities safe.”

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