Covid in Dubai: Remote learning to continue at some universities amid rising cases

Many schools in Dubai had to switch to distance learning



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Nandini Sircar

Published: Wed 5 Jan 2022, 2:54 PM

Last updated: Wed 5 Jan 2022, 3:00 PM

Due to the recent spike in coronavirus cases in UAE, many universities in Dubai are adopting a wait and watch approach ahead reopening after the winter break.

The ones who've already resumed classes are treading with caution by temporarily holding online classes before starting their on-site schedule again.

Different varsities are prepared for various scenarios as they regularly consult the concerned regulatory authorities and act according to the situation at the time of reopening.

Dr Fazal Malik, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Amity University Dubai, said, "Our 700,000 square foot campus is equipped with the facilities and space to accommodate students and staff while adhering to the social distancing norms.

"The University campus reopens on January 10. To provide a safe, healthy and interactive environment for students, we have initiated several easy-to-follow regulations that students will be required to adhere to."

Malik added, "We are working on alternate academic schedules and class structures for every programme to take into account the increase in Covid-19 cases. Flipped classes and digital learning will also continue to accommodate students with any health concerns.

"We are determined to ensure that every student's University experience includes social interactions, events and practical course work in a safe and secure environment."

Many schools in Dubai had to switched to distance learning on Monday after institutions received significant number of positive tests reports and close contact notifications from their school communities.

Therefore, experts aver education in the UAE have matured. The need of the hour is to have educators with modern teaching styles who can enable students to adopt a more hybrid approach to learning that goes beyond simply delivering the content.

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Dr Yousef Al Assaf, President- Rochester Institute of Technology, Dubai, said, "Safety for the students, staff and community is our priority. We act in consultation with the Ministry, our partners, KHDA, health authorities and even with the main campus.

"We conduct regular meetings to keep up to date with the changing situation. We are currently conducting online classes only for the first few weeks to see how things develop and protect the community. But after two weeks, we will most likely have face-to-face classes based on the survey data we are receiving."

"We will allow the provision for online classes for those who could not take the vaccine on medical grounds or are infected with the virus when on-site classes resume. It will be mostly face-to-face with some hybrid elements as well. Online classes definitely have its merits but cannot be a substitute for face-to-face classes. So, we wouldn't want to go into this completely unless it's absolutely critical, as was before when the pandemic started. But hopefully, we wouldn't come to that stage again", Assaf added.

Nahid Afshan, Head of Admission, BITS Pilani Dubai Campus says, "We are glad that we successfully completed the first semester with face-to-face classes. With the examinations concluding today, the students will start their three-week semester-end break from tomorrow. We are scheduled to commence the next semester at the end of January, and depending on the situation then, the institute will decide whether to conduct online or face-to-face classes. We are prepared for both scenarios."


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