Covid in Abu Dhabi: Schools to relax rules based on student vaccination rates

Photo (for illustrative purposes): Reuters
Photo (for illustrative purposes): Reuters

Abu Dhabi - They will be able to gradually reduce social distancing requirements and mask-wearing protocols

By Web report

Published: Tue 5 Oct 2021, 3:33 PM

Last updated: Tue 5 Oct 2021, 5:01 PM

Authorities in Abu Dhabi have approved the blue schools initiative, which allows all schools in the emirate to relax measures and return to normal operations based on vaccination rates.

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To be implemented from the second term of the current academic year, the blue schools initiative recognises vaccination as the key path to recovery, re-emphasises transparency, and enhances the learning and social experience of students.

Schools will be tiered based on student vaccination rates. Higher vaccinated schools will be able to gradually relax measures, including reduced social distancing requirements, relaxed mask-wearing protocols, increased classroom and school transport capacity, and a return to extra-curricular activities, in-school events and field trips.

The four tiers are as follows:

> ‘Orange’ for schools with less than 50 per cent of students vaccinated

> ‘Yellow’ for schools with 50-60 per cent of students vaccinated

> ‘Green’ for schools with 65-84 per cent of students vaccinated

> ‘Blue’ for schools with 85 per cent and above students vaccinated


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Free vaccines are available for children at various vaccination centres across Abu Dhabi, including the dedicated children’s vaccination centre at ADNEC.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is available for children aged 12 and over, whilechildren aged three years and above can opt for the Sinopharm jab.

Schools hail initiative

George Mathew, CEO and principal of Gems Indian School in Abu Dhabi called the blue schools initiative a positive move.

“It would help push more parents to get their children vaccinated, which would increase the number of pupils attending physical classes,” he said.

Mathew noted that, currently, more than 50 per cent of their students and 99 per cent of their staff have been vaccinated.

“Every day, we see the rate of vaccination improving and we welcome the same. I always urge all parents to choose this path as we move forward into post-pandemic recovery,” he said, adding that vaccination is the best shield against the virus for all.

Anna Pagdiwalla, principal of Mayoor School in Abu Dhabi, said all their students aged 16 and above have been vaccinated.

“A reasonable number of the rest of the students who are eligible for the vaccine have also been administered the jab. We have always encouraged our parents to vaccinate their children for their safety and the safety of the entire school community” she said.

A health and safety official from Al Basma British School confirmed their students aged 16 and above have also been vaccinated. “Our parents are doing their best to ensure that they vaccinate their children. So far, more than 55 per cent of our pupils below the age of 16 have also received the Covid-19 jab,” he said.

Meanwhile, Elmarie Venter, Chief Operations Officer, GEMS Education said the school group is focusing on a campaign to inoculate its student population, following a "very successful" drive that saw all eligible staff receive the vaccine.

“This started towards the end of last term in June and we already have more than 13,000 eligible students (i.e. aged 12 and above) registered as vaccinated — with numbers rising every day and more vaccination drives to follow shortly.”

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