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Coronavirus Pandemic

Reopening responsibly: Dubai students will be safe in schools, head teachers assure parents

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on June 24, 2020 | Last updated on June 24, 2020 at 08.12 am
Reopening responsibly, Dubai students, safe, schools, head teachers, assure parents

(Photo by M.Sajjad/Khaleej Times)

Campus learning was suspended across all educational institutions in the UAE in March.

As they gear up for reopening, school leaders are doing their best to assure parents that their kids will be safe on their campuses.

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) has confirmed that schools and universities in Dubai may reopen their facilities following the summer break, provided they comply with specific health and safety protocols.

Campus learning was suspended across all educational institutions in the UAE in March, as part of precautionary measures to limit the spread of Covid-19. Since then, education went online and schools and colleges shifted to e-learning.

Now that schools are given the green light to reopen, head teachers have been communicating with parents to assuage fears they may have.

Brendon Fulton, executive principal of Dubai British School, said: "Our comprehensive safety plans will exceed the guidelines set forth by the regulators, and once parents see these, we are confident that they will have their fears allayed.

"For parents who nevertheless remain unsure, we are planning on providing asynchronous lesson resources to all students so that learning can be accessed remotely for those who choose. Our preference will remain that all students are in school for learning, however, we will ensure that no student gets left behind."

Some schools are exploring blended learning options and trialling plans, such as hosting virtual assemblies for the whole school, while broadcasting from within each classroom.

Jodh Sing Dhesi, deputy chief education officer of GEMS Education, said: "It is inevitable that we will be operating a blended approach, partly in school and partly at home, maximising the amount of time that our students are in school while ensuring that everyone maintains social distancing.

"We are very well set up to deal with this, building on the success of our remote learning programme of the last few months, with which 95 per cent of our families have expressed themselves to be satisfied."

Others have also been studying successful strategies implemented overseas. Dr Vajahat Hussain, CEO of Amity Education Middle East, said: "We have learnt a lot from our school in Amsterdam, which opened last month. Their protocols and successful results are playing a large role in our preparations.

"Parents can be assured that every school in Dubai is working hard to prepare their facilities, teachers and staff for the reopening of schools. Whether it is through the cleaning of facilities or the training of admin staff, we are committed to developing new policies and creating a secure environment for students." 

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