Covid-19: Working parents, mums hail revised guidelines for nurseries in Abu Dhabi



Abu Dhabi - New rules come into effect from July 1


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Tue 22 Jun 2021, 4:51 PM

New revised guidelines for nurseries have been welcomed by working parents and management of these institutions, who emphasised that the move would improve tiny tots’ both academic and emotional well-being.

The new policy decisions will help parents, who have had to juggle jobs and careers while taking care of their children amid the viral outbreak since March, 2020.

The Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee on Monday (June 21) updated Covid-19 guidelines for operating nurseries in the emirate.

The new rules, which come into effect from July 1, include increasing the number of children within each 'bubble' from eight to 12 for those aged from 45 days to two years, and up from 10 to 16 for those aged between two and four years.

A bubble will be closed for 10 days if three or more Covid-19 positive cases are reported.

Nurseries must ensure a minimum space requirement of 3.5 square (sq) metres (m) per child in each classroom, and 5 sq m in open areas.

The revised norms have been announced after Covid-19 cases declined appreciably in nurseries.

Kerryn Michna, the director of Redwood Montessori Nursery, welcomed the new policy decisions.

“We’re all incredibly invested in the child’s journey of learning and growth, which involves not only academics, but also social, psychological, and emotional well-being. Discipline and a conducive environment are key to their comprehensive growth and personality development,” she said.

“The move augurs well for parents, who can depend on nurseries to support the daily learning and developmental growth of children that are key to their well-being. Functional nurseries are a comforting thought for working parents. Besides, the new policy decision gives stability to the nursery employees, who have been weathering two consecutive rough years because of the raging viral outbreak,” she added.

Reem Teama, the manager of Ladybird Nursery, echoed Michna. She said the initiative would have a positive impact on parents, children and staff.

“Children will have more face-to-face learning and social interaction. This is the primary reason why parents are enrolling their children in nurseries,” she said.

“Working parents have been struggling because of the closure of nurseries. At times, they had to take leave from work to spend time with their children at home, which impacted their productivity,” she said.

“The new guidelines will offer us a good opportunity to hire more employees, who are required to look after the children. There is a growing need to increase staff: children ratio,” she added.

Maddi Brugali, the principal of Odyssey Nursery, said: ”We’re grateful to the authorities for ensuring the health safety of children, their families and staff of nurseries.

“The revised guidelines will help children’s physical and mental development following regular interaction with their peers,” she said.

“Operations nurseries will help ease the burden on working parents,” she added.

Working mums feel relieved as more pupils could be accommodated, said Sarah Mohammad, an Emirati mother.

“One of my children will graduate from a nursery next year. My two-year old-boy also has to join a nursery in the new school year. But I was afraid he might not get admission because of the Covid-19 guidelines,” she said.

“I’ve been juggling with my beauty parlour and real estate businesses while taking care of the children at home,” she added.

Hamida Bhuhari, another working mother and a Sudanese expatriate, said she struggled with closure of nurseries, as she had her hands full while taking care of her two daughters and coping up with her work pressure.

“I’m happy with the revised measures for operating nurseries. Before the outbreak of the pandemic, I used to leave my children, who are aged below four years, and go to work. However, my routine underwent a drastic change since the closure of nurseries. I had to take leave for a few days or work remotely because I couldn’t leave my children with housemaids for all these days,” she added.

Another parent said in-classroom teaching is important for children, which helps them interact with their teachers and would go a long way in their mental growth and personality development.

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