Bhangra dances, teachers in costumes: How Dubai schools welcomed students on Day 1 of 100% on-site learning

Dubai - Students, especially those who have been learning from home for over a year, are excited to be back.


Nandini Sircar

Published: Mon 4 Oct 2021, 12:41 PM

Last updated: Mon 4 Oct 2021, 12:49 PM

Yellow school buses took over Dubai’s roads on Sunday morning, as students returned to full in-person learning.

Some schools went out of their way to make returning students feel comfortable. Not only did they put up banners and streamers, one school welcomed kids back with a Bhangra dance, a traditional Indian folk dance.

“We went all out cranking up the beat....making a big bang with dhols, dance and pompoms to welcome our students and teachers back to the campus. We wanted students and teachers to feel at ease; have fun on their first day back; and stay thrilled about coming to campus every day,” said Punit MK Vasu, CEO of The Indian High Group of Schools.

“Music is something which everyone relates to and we wanted this welcome to set the tone for our students to have a blast throughout the school year. We promise to bring learning to life for each of our students at this vibrant learning community nestled within The Indian International School, DSO.”

More than 75 per cent of students have already returned to schools since the start of the academic year or a new term on August 29, with surveys showing that most schools were fully compliant with all Covid-19 precautionary guidelines.

Now, students in Dubai can no longer opt for distance learning unless they fall under one of three categories outlined by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority.

All safety processes — from risk assessment, Covid-19 awareness, daily temperature screening to crisis management — are in place and carefully curated by schools’ health and safety teams.

At Amity School Dubai, an initiative called ‘mindful Marhaba’ was organised to greet students on Sunday morning.

Teachers dressed up as fun characters to create a light-hearted atmosphere for students.

"This is a crucial moment in education and it calls for celebration. We are working closely with home learners to ensure seamless integration into our new and improved interactive learning spaces,” said Sangita Chima, principal of Amity School Dubai.

At GEMS Royal Dubai School, the day started ‘very smoothly’, especially since the campus already had an average attendance rate of 95 per cent, according to its principal John Bagust.

“We had members of the school leadership at every entrance to school, so we were able to greet returning students and guide parents to the drop-off areas,” he said.


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“We were very happy to see the return of our remaining students to school for face-to-face learning. We see the decision as a further sign that things are slowly beginning to return to normal.”

Schools have also restarted morning assemblies, co-scholastic activities and after-school programmes, but social distancing is factored in to meet the safety protocols.

We’ve waited for this day: Students

Pulak, a Grade 10 student of Indian High School (IHS) Dubai, said she was happy to see her campus’ corridors come alive again with chatter and laughter.

“Finally, we are back in school and it feels simply awesome…Believe me, nothing else can beat this happiness.”

She added: “I am elated to get back on campus with all my friends in person. Every corner here speaks to us. We had been missing all this fun for the past 18 months. I can’t wait to see the laboratory, the library and the cricket pitch.”

Grade 9 student Jeslyn Rachel, who had been doing learning from home for more than a year, was just as excited.

“At first, I was really anxious because it was a completely new experience with the masks on and the different protocols in place. But all my anxiety vanished as soon as I stepped into the campus because the school was so wonderfully set up to welcome us back.”

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