Covid-19: UAE schools take steps to get students vaccinated ahead of September reopening

KT file photo
KT file photo

Abu Dhabi - Campuses are ready to welcome pupils back for face-to-face learning.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Tue 3 Aug 2021, 2:54 PM

Last updated: Wed 20 Oct 2021, 10:26 AM

With new campus safety protocols laid down ahead of the September reopening, back-to-school preparations in Abu Dhabi have now shifted to ensuring students are vaccinated.

The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) on Monday released a raft of updated precautionary Covid safety policies for the new academic year, which included the vaccination requirement for everyone entering schools. This rule applies to all students aged 16 years and over, as well as school staff and visiting parents, among others.


>> Sinopharm vaccine for kids aged 3 and above in UAE: All you need to know

At GEMS United Indian School–Abu Dhabi (UIS), a smart portal is being used to collect vaccination data and remind students to get vaccinated. As for the staff, 99 per cent of UIS teachers have already completed their jabs, according to the school principal and CEO George Mathew.

At Abu Dhabi Indian School, several students aged 16 and above have already taken the jab. But since the Sinopharm shot is now available to kids as young as 3 years old, the school is boosting its drive to get more pupils vaccinated.

“We shall continue seeking for permission to have our students vaccinated at the school to make it easier for our parents,” said Neeraj Bhargava, principal of Abu Dhabi Indian School.

Besides the vaccination requirement, a number of other back-to-school policies and safety measures were laid down in the latest Adek announcement. Open play areas and canteens shall be reopened and physical education classes and extra-curricular programmes will resume, allowing face-to-face learners to return to some of the routines they had missed since the pandemic started.

Taking note of the new measures, schools have affirmed that they are ready and excited to welcome students back to campuses.

“Almost everything is ready at my school and we are just waiting to welcome students for the new school year,” Bhargava said.

“However, we can’t have all students at the campus at the same time because it’s a huge number. We shall continue with the blended learning model with in-class learning for two days and three days for e-learning when pupils return for face-to-face learning.” All the school staff have also been vaccinated and they are now looking to get a booster shot.

Mayoor School is also fully prepared, in terms of the classroom arrangements and other facilities, said its principal Anna Pagdiwalla.

“Regarding vaccination, all our staff have received the two doses of the vaccine. We have also informed all parents and students above the age of 16 that they need to get vaccinated before they come to school this new term,” she added.

ALSO READ: Where to vaccinate kids aged 3-17 in Abu Dhabi

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.

Schools will also continue operating macro bubbles to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission among school groups and reduce shifts to distance learning.

Jordanian mother Aisha Khalid — whose three children, all aged below 12, attend private schools in Abu Dhabi— said that with the new policies, she is confident that schools are now safe for children.

“All my kids have been attending remote learning since the onset of the pandemic. But I am now confident to send them back to school for physical learning. I will ensure that they all get vaccinated for Covid-19.”

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