UAE: Mandatory Covid PCR testing for students, school rules explained as in-person learning resumes

Can parents concerned about the Covid situation opt for e-schooling for their wards?


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Published: Sun 23 Jan 2022, 12:17 PM

Last updated: Sun 23 Jan 2022, 11:00 PM

After three weeks of distance education, in-person learning is all set to resume in the UAE’s public schools and colleges from tomorrow, January 24, in two groups. Campus learning will also resume in private and public schools in Abu Dhabi from tomorrow.

The education facilities were to resume 100 per cent in-person learning from the new term that began on January 3. However, with the number of daily cases rising, classes went online as a Covid safety measure.

In the UAE, each Emirate has its own disaster management committee that formulates crisis plans at the local level. Dubai, Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah had allowed schools to receive students on campus with additional Covid safety rules from the new term. However, many schools, including those in Dubai, switched to e-learning due to positive cases among students and staff.

Most of them have now resumed in-person learning, with remote classes offered only in some instances.

Here is a complete guide to schooling across the UAE, learning modes and exemptions.

Will all students return to campus from tomorrow?

Students in Abu Dhabi and public education facilities will return to campus in two groups. KG 1 – Grade 5/FS1 – Year 6 students, as well as Grade12/ Year 13 and students sitting for board and high stakes exams can return to in-classroom education starting from January 24. All other students can return to campus on January 31.

Can parents concerned about the Covid situation opt for e-schooling for their wards?

Abu Dhabi: Distance learning is an option for all parents for the remainder of term one. However, parents must inform schools about their preferred model before January 31. This model must be adhered to for the remainder of the term.

Dubai: Remote learning can be offered to students only in three instances: When students test Covid positive; if they have Covid symptoms; or if they are close contacts.

Are PCR tests compulsory for students to return to campus?

In Abu Dhabi, all students aged three years and above - regardless of vaccination status and inclusive of Students of Determination - must produce a negative nasal PCR or saliva test result issued within 96 hours to resume in-person classes. The same procedure applies to teachers, administrative staff and third-party contractors.

How often do students have to take PCR tests after resuming in-person classes?

In Abu Dhabi and public schools across the country, all students returning to campus must take a PCR test every 14 days throughout the new term.

In Abu Dhabi, is Covid testing available for free to students?

Abu Dhabi students can take free-of-charge PCR tests at any private or public clinic, hospital, or drive-through test centre. Students must present a valid Emirates ID or passport. Pupils under the age of 12 can opt for a saliva test at a variety of test centres across Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Al Dhafra.


Which school activities are suspended?

In Abu Dhabi and public schools, all external trips and activities are suspended until further notice. Sports and cultural activities will be permitted in full adherence to health and safety precautionary measures.

In Dubai, all trips, events and internal gatherings – such as assemblies and performances – and PE lessons have been put on hold. Cafeterias and canteens also remain closed

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