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Coronavirus Pandemic

Smaller class sizes, shorter hours: Dubai schools explain 'new normal' for students on campus

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on June 23, 2020 | Last updated on June 23, 2020 at 11.29 pm
Coronavirus, covid19, Smaller class sizes, shorter hours, Dubai schools, explain, new normal, students, on campus

(KT file photo)

Khaleej Times has learnt that all institutes have been asked to submit a proposal on how they plan to reopen.

Schools in Dubai are now getting ready to reopen this September, after getting the green light from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, director-general of KHDA, virtually met all school leaders on Tuesday to discuss the reopening. The authority also published a new Q&A post on its website, addressing various queries on students' return to classrooms. It also ruled out any fee hikes for the next academic year.

Speaking to various schools across the emirate, Khaleej Times has learnt that all institutes have been asked to submit a proposal on how they plan to reopen.

They said they have been developing comprehensive safety procedures and guidelines, consulting other school groups, the KHDA and Ministry of Education throughout the process.

Brendon Fulton, executive principal of Dubai British School Group, said: "These include strict safety measures, such as thermal screening at entrances, hygiene stations for sterilisation in each classroom, zoning and movement control, withdrawal facilities for children who present with illnesses, and social distancing measures throughout the school."

Other schools will be implementing new systems that may include reducing class sizes and shortening hours on campus.

Dr Vajahat Hussain, Amity Education Middle East CEO, said: "Students will be separated in such a way that distancing rules are maintained. We are preparing for a variety of scenarios, including shorter school weeks and hours."

Credence High School in Al Khail will also be applying social distancing norms on seating arrangements, and students' arrival, departure and break periods will be reorganised, according to its CEO-principal Deepika Thapar Singh.

No fee hikes

As parents remain concerned about tuition fees, the KHDA clearly stated in its latest advisory that "school fees remain unchanged for the next academic year".

Commenting on the issue, school administrations have expressed their intention to do the best they can for their student community.

"Taaleem schools have already provided a minimum 20 per cent discount to returning families, with half of that being carried over to term-1. So all of our returning families will enjoy discounted fees for term-1. As we are planning for a full return to school, with some flexible adjustments to ensure safety, we are not planning on any further discounts," Fulton said. 

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