Covid-19: Dubai schools share staff vaccination status, add breaks for students to wash hands

Some institutions have started with their scheduled examinations online


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Mon 10 Jan 2022, 5:01 PM

Last updated: Mon 10 Jan 2022, 6:09 PM

Many schools in Dubai have been sharing the staff vaccination data with their parent communities and are adding frequent ‘clean breaks’ to their daily timetable so that students get to wash their hands more often.

This is being done in a bid to encourage hand hygiene and allay the fear of parents who are wary of sending their children to schools for face-to-face learning after a steep rise in infections.

School leaders also say that a small section of parents who are willing to send their children to school seem to be accepting Covid-19 as a part of their life, which now seems to be having milder outcomes.

They explain some feel on-site learning is imperative to achieving satisfactory learning milestones.


Dr Sheela Menon, Principal, Ambassador School, Dubai said, “In consideration of the increase in the number of Covid–19 cases in children and families, we have been given approval by KHDA for distance learning for two weeks, till 14 January. As a school, we have been sharing with parents the Covid-19 as well as the staff vaccination data. Most of the staff members have taken the booster dose as well.”

She adds, “At present a large majority of parents are apprehensive in sending children to school for various reasons. The major one being that children below 12 are not yet vaccinated. Additionally, reports about a spike in the number of cases even for those who are vaccinated and the pace at which it is spreading is another reason to add to the parents' anxiety. Moreover, we are experiencing more children getting impacted with family members getting infected.”

Educational institutions are constantly reviewing the situation, taking all possible steps to ensure that the health and safety protocols are being followed in the strictest manner possible.

Menon later says, “There is a small percentage of parents especially in the lower classes who want to send their wards to school and seem to have accepted variants of Covid as a part and parcel of life. When in school, frequent breaks are added to ensure children get to wash hands often and sharing of resources has been stopped for the longest time possible.”

Schools are also following added precautions for this term as all extracurricular activities (ECA), school trips, performances, assemblies, events, and internal gatherings have been cancelled, together with no physical education (PE).

Additionally, no catering services are currently permitted, with all students having to bring a packed lunch.

Campbell Douglas, Principal/CEO, GEMS Wellington Academy – Al Khail, says, “There has been a mix of parents genuinely concerned for the safety of their children and those that cannot send their children to school due to being positive cases or close contacts. We have had concerned parents asking us about the protocols in place for the return to face-to-face learning, and we have shared with them that we are strictly following the protocols outlined by KHDA for a safe return to school. Our relationship with the parent community is built on mutual trust and a shared interest in face-to-face learning being the preferred way to educate."

Parent councils in schools are being consulted and the designated body also feeds back to the institutions with any concerns among parents so that they can be addressed.

“The school has been quick to reassure parents and students that all protocols are being followed and will continue to do so until this phase passes, and we are advised that restrictions can be eased again”, adds Douglas.

Some schools begin with online exams

Meanwhile, some schools have also started with their scheduled examinations online.

Deepika Thapar Singh, CEO/Principal, Credence High School said, “We are continuing with Distance Learning until Friday, 14 January and we will resume face-to-face learning from Monday, 17 January. The staff and children quickly settled back to the online learning mode seamlessly without any difficulty. Our students are fully attending the online learning and this week we are even having our periodic assessments for our grade 2 to grade 9 students online.”

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