Covid in UAE: Vaccine will help kids return to schools safely, say principals
Schools are fully prepared for on-site classes, with majority of teachers and staff vaccinated.
Thanks to the UAE’s approval of the Sinopharm jab for younger kids, more students are expected to return to classrooms in September, principals said on Monday.
Making the vaccine available to kids as young as three years old will particularly encourage parents who were reluctant about sending their children back to campuses, they added.
“This is a positive development from the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention, which has conducted sound research that will give more confidence to parents,” said Simon Herbert, head of school and CEO of GEMS International School–Al Khail.
“A little push from the government is reassuring parents that schools are a safe place for students to return to,” principals said.
As far as campus safety is concerned, schools are fully prepared for on-site classes, with all measures in place and majority of teachers and administrative staff vaccinated.
Pramod Mahajan, director-principal of Sharjah Indian School, said: “School heads have been trying to convince parents that it’s safe for children to return on campus as all safety protocols are being thoroughly adhered to. But this is a really good decision to vaccinate children above three.”
Mahajan said vaccination drives in schools, once allowed by the authorities, can also help bring the jabs closer to students.
“If that happens, children would not have to go to tents outside to get themselves vaccinated. Besides, we have our own school clinic with adequate and qualified staff to do the same. This will also motivate other parents to get their wards vaccinated and that will eventually allow the return of more face-to-face learners.”
Muhammad Ali Kottakkulam, principal of Gulf Indian High School Dubai, said the new vaccine approval is a big step towards the resumption of “full-fledged face-to-face schooling”.
“I am sure that the health ministry has taken up the initiative after completing all necessary trials prior to the decision,” Kottakkulam said.
The Sinopharm immune bridge study, which was launched in Abu Dhabi in June this year, saw the participation of 900 children.
Annie Mathew, principal of Gulf Model School, said: “It’s indeed heartening news that children between the ages of three and 17 can now avail of the Sinopharm vaccine. This will cover the entire population of students at school and will hopefully pave the way for full physical reopening of schools.”
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