Schools in Dubai were excited to welcome students back on their campuses, and students, though masked-up, have enjoyed returning to a face-to-face educational experience.
After two weeks of distance learning, most schools in the Emirate that resumed in-person classes underline that their teachers have been working hard to customise online training solutions for pupils to ensure a smooth curriculum delivery.
Blended and flipped learning models are also being readopted due to the recent spike in coronavirus cases.
Simon Herbert, Head of School / CEO, GEMS International School – Al Khail, said, "It was absolutely wonderful to see so many smiling faces among families and teachers as students came back to face-to-face learning at GEMS International School – Al Khail after two weeks of distance learning. Many families thanked us for reopening after a sensible period of distance learning."
Schools reiterated parents had worked hard to support their children over the last two weeks, and being back in person brings many additional benefits, from wellbeing to social engagement.
Some schools pointed out how they have commenced with the blended learning model.
Deepika Thapar Singh, CEO-Principal, Credence High School, opines, "We have started with hybrid learning this week, where we have students attending school face-to-face and remotely from home.
"It is our pleasure to see smiling faces in the school, the laughter and chatter of the children. We are delighted to see our students back on campus. All safety protocols are being followed diligently by the students and staff, and mindfulness is practised helping all to remain calm and focused."
Headteachers opine it was heartening to watch the school's corridors buzzing with laughter again.
They note that students will once again enjoy skills such as research, social, self-management, communication and thinking through face-to-face learning. Person-to-person interaction enhances wellbeing through collaboration with peers instead of constant screen time.
Charlotte Grieves, Principal, GEMS Royal Dubai School, opined, "It was wonderful to see our children return to school today, seeing them back where they belong, all with smiles. We are so grateful to our incredible community for their support and patience over the last couple of weeks."
Schools that have been open during the past two weeks for onsite learning highlight that they have been implementing all health and safety protocols in their education system with the highest efficiency level.
Sangita Chima, Amity School Dubai Principal, opines, "'Vigilance is the key' during these challenging times. Awareness, quick communication, mindful action, and collaborative initiatives have helped us mitigate the impact of Covid-19. We have strengthened pandemic precautions, preparedness, and response since we reopened school.
"We have garnered praise from several parents who feel that the best option for keeping children safe is the active learning environment in the school.
"Teachers prepared personalised and guided distance learning solutions for students who have tested positive, are close contacts or have flu-like symptoms and cannot attend school."
Muhammad Ali Kottakkulam, Principal, Gulf Indian High School, Dubai says, "The school is running in full strength with all the 1,900 students attending the campus. As we ensure that the protocols are strictly in place, staff and students feel confident of their safety. Physical activities and gatherings are strictly suspended, and the canteen remains closed. The parent fraternity is also extending their cooperation towards the school."
Three are planned in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi, including two new ones under the Dubai British School brand
The tests could serve to instil and strengthen Emirati values, good behaviour in pupils
They measure Grade 12 students’ skills and knowledge as they complete their general education and move to their higher education
Sessions aim to encourage students to read as a passion and not as a task
Authorities in the emirate are holding lectures as part of wider sensitisation programme launched by the centre to raise awareness
For some institutions it comes as an extension of the mid-term break that has already started
Schools will resume on Monday, October 24, pupils have been urged to use this time to take a step back and review their academic progress