Covid: Dubai schools resume extracurricular activities, outdoor trips as restrictions ease

Many schools are allowing students to enter the school cafeteria only in limited numbers


Nandini Sircar

Published: Mon 31 Jan 2022, 5:40 PM

Last updated: Mon 31 Jan 2022, 10:20 PM

School assemblies, extracurricular activities (ECA), physical education (PE) lessons, gatherings, and outdoor trips resumed in Dubai schools starting Monday.

School leaders expressed happiness at the resumption of all these activities, including school canteens, reinforcing a semblance of normalcy in school campuses.

Due to a rise in coronavirus cases when schools reopened in early January, the Emirate's education regulator, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) suspended all extracurricular activities. Schools moved some of these activities online to avoid the mingling of children and curb the spread of the virus.

Muhammad Ali Kottakkulam, Principal, Gulf Indian High School, Dubai, said, "We are so elated that we have returned to 'normal'. Our students have really missed many of their routine extracurricular activities, school assemblies and sports due to the restrictions imposed on the same as part of the Covid-19 protocols.

"Starting February 3, the school Health and Wellbeing Club will be organising the Health and Safety seminars and many extracurricular activities.

"These activities, organised within the boundaries of permission, will improve the well-being of our students. We will continue our work in protecting the health and well-being of our students and staff by strictly implementing the revised protocols even while relaxing several rules that were imposed earlier."

Many schools, treading cautiously, are allowing students to enter the school cafeteria only in limited numbers at a time to avoid overcrowding.

Some school canteens continue to remain closed, with Principals pointing out it will be done gradually in due course of time.

Nav Iqbal, Principal/CEO, GEMS Metropole School – Motor City, opined, "As a school, we have now resumed our school activities so that children are once more able to attend ECAs. This has been maintained within year group bubbles as we cautiously resume activities.


"Our parent canteen reopened today, and our student canteen will be reopening tomorrow. Strict social distancing rules will be applied, with children visiting the canteen only in small groups.

"Students have been happy to return to outdoor play at break and lunchtime, but again we have kept to year group bubbles to ensure track and tracing is easy, and students are safe. Our students were most pleased with the return to PE lessons so that they can get back to their sporting activities in a safe, socially distanced environment," he added.

Justine Saxton – Primary Head of House, GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis, says, "The resumption of these activities has allowed for more creativity and flexibility. There is certainly a buzz in the air as our students embark on the opportunity to engage with these onsite activities and with their peers on a wider scale. Our school canteen has not yet opened. We continue to ask students to bring their food into school, where their eating environment is controlled and monitored to best support the well-being of our students. Our school trips will now go ahead, assemblies are live and extracurricular activities will gently begin to resume."

School heads underline that children can once again experience being together on a larger scale and interacting in a way that does not involve devices leading to greater community spirit.

CEO-Principal, Credence High School, said, "all extracurricular activities are back in full swing. Students are delighted to be back on the field for their physical education classes and sports. The equipment used during the sports activities gets sanitised regularly. Our students are performing at Expo 2020, and they are back to practising for the same, to give their best. The school cafeteria has opened too. We continue to practice social distancing and wearing the mask at all times."

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