UAE: More schools switch to remote learning after one day of in-person classes

Several staff members and students have reported testing positive for the virus or being in close contact with someone who had Covid



By Nandini Sircar

Published: Mon 3 Jan 2022, 5:24 PM

Last updated: Tue 4 Jan 2022, 8:18 AM

It was a mixed feeling of happiness and anxiety as students returned to schools for face-to-face learning in Dubai on Monday.

After the first in-person classes today post-winter break, some schools have now switched to remote learning for at least a week, as some schools receive more positive tests reports and close contact notifications for their staff and students.

Mohammed Darwish, CEO of Permits and Compliance at Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), said, "We're grateful to our education community for their resilience and support, and we remain focused on the wellbeing of families and school staff during this time. Thorough health and safety protocols remain in place for all private schools in Dubai. We are working closely with each school to ensure that these protocols are followed and that teaching, and learning continues."

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Schools have also been conducting surveys to better understand student preferences.

Punit MK Vasu, CEO of The Indian High Group of Schools said, "We are delighted to have reopened for face-to-face learning for all our 13,000 students as per the new week policy announced by the UAE authorities. The health and safety of all our learners and staff is our top priority and we are closely monitoring the situation and working together with the relevant authorities. We sent a survey to evaluate what our parents and learners prefer and accordingly adjusted our learning modules and schedules to what works best for a majority of our learners."

Yesterday at least 30 schools in Dubai announced the temporary switch to distance learning after several staff and families reported that they tested positive for Covid-19 or had been in close contact with someone who had the virus.

Principal and Director Rashmi Nandkeolyar of DPS Dubai said, "We had onsite learning today with most students on the campus. It was a mixed bag of happiness and anxiety. Students and teachers were excited to welcome the New Year together, but of course, we were concerned about safety."

Rachel Higgins, Principal of Jumeirah Primary School, said, "The first day of school was great. We had high attendance face to face; the children both in school and online have enjoyed being back at school and seeing friends after the winter break."

However, some Dubai schools have also moved to remote learning after only one day of face-to-face learning as staff tested positive for Covid-19 or were close contacts.

In a note to its parents, Dubai International Academy - Emirates Hills said, "The current situation regarding Covid-19 is extremely fast-moving. We have received a significant number of positive tests and close contact notifications, for staff and students. We have been in close communication with the KHDA and whilst we have managed to remain mostly open today and provide a safe learning environment for those students able and willing to attend, I'm afraid, like many schools, the situation has become unsustainable for us."

"It is with regret that I inform you that, for safety and logistical reasons, we will be moving the entire school to Distance Learning from tomorrow, Tuesday 4 January until Friday 7 January (inclusive)."

Meanwhile, Students in Sharjah can opt for distance education "until further notice".

This came as the Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA) said school principals could take the call on temporarily shifting to remote learning in light of Covid-19 cases. The SPEA added, classes can go online for two school days if needed.

Schools in the Emirate received students for in-person learning on Monday with strict Covid safety measures.

Indian School Ras Al Khaimah, in a circular, stated, "regular classes will be resumed online for all the students as per usual timing from tomorrow onwards till further notice. You are requested to make arrangements at home to see that your ward is able to attend online classes without any hurdles."

Schools in Ras-al-Khaimah have written to parents about moving to online classes after one day of onsite classes.

Educational institutions in Abu Dhabi, Umm Al Quwain, and public schools will host classes remotely for at least two weeks as a Covid safety measure.


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