Schools in Dubai have been advising caution to their students and staff who are looking to travel abroad during the spring break.
If students travel, they are required to present a negative Covid-19 PCR test, which is valid within 48 hours of the start of school. This policy will be implemented for all staff, too.
Alternatively, children may return to school after home quarantine for 10 days following their travel. They must also declare their recent travel history by completing the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) form online.
For most schools, the spring break started from March 28 to April 8, marking the end of a semester.
For Indian schools, the two-week break after the finish of an academic year ends on April 1, with classes commencing from April 4.
Sangita Chima, principal, Amity School Dubai, said: “We have advised caution, though a small number of staff, students and parents may travel during this break. With all our teachers vaccinated and a large majority of our parent community also vaccinated, it has added a layer of safety. Consistent and constant communication with parents has helped us keep track of the health and safety of our students.
We are looking forward to having children return to school for face-to-face learning."
She added: “All students, who have travelled, will be required to furnish a negative PCR report or complete a 10-day quarantine from the date of arrival, prior to returning to school. We shall be keeping a track of the travelling adults and children who are advised to fill in a declaration upon departure and return.”
Many schools had been conducting surveys before the start of the vacations, asking students to inform the school of their intention to travel over the spring break.
Akram Tarik, CEO & principal, GEMS Founders School–Al Mizhar, pointed out: “Our initial analysis indicates that the vast majority of families and staff will not be travelling. For the minority that do intend to travel, we have reminded all families and staff to follow the latest government updates and to complete a travel declaration form before returning to school in Term 3.
The vigilance of the school community in helping us keep everyone safe is vital, and we have, therefore, also asked all those travelling abroad to either quarantine for 10 days prior to the start of Term 3 or submit a negative PCR test result dated within 48 hours of the start of Term 3.”
“Our parents and staff were amazing in following these protocols over the winter break, allowing us to continue to collectively protect each other and not jeopardise the results, efforts and sacrifices we have made over the past 12 months,” added Tarik.
Meanwhile, many families are scaling back on travelling this year during the holidays to protect against Covid-19.
Adilatul, a Malaysian expat with two kids, said: “We are not travelling this year; Covid-19 being one of the reasons. Usually, we travel to Europe around the spring break. International travelling entails many protocols now and although more people are getting vaccinated we thought this year, we rather enjoy the scenic beauty of the UAE and travel within the country.”
Arijit Nandi, a Dubai resident with one child, averred: “My family and I wish to stay away from crowds and cut back on unnecessary travel at least for some more time till the Covid-19 situation improves globally. The UAE has controlled the situation really well but we do not wish to travel abroad and expose ourselves to the virus in a new place where we aren’t sure what the situation is like. Therefore, we want to stay put with our child.”
However, others who are travelling are doing so bearing in mind all safety protocols.
Those travelling, opined that the vaccination drive has boosted their confidence levels and frequent testing before and after the trip is high on their agenda.
Surekha Ajay Vaidyan, an Indian expat, said: “We travelled to Bengaluru in India for about two weeks primarily to meet the elderly family members who won’t be able to travel. We also needed to finish some government-related work pending for over a year now. We felt fairly safe while travelling during the pandemic. It’s also time to return to normal life with safety precautions as much as possible. We followed all protocols and rules and the journey was smooth. Our child will be doing online learning in the first term of the next academic year after we return from India.”
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