UAE rains: Some Dubai schools announce early dispersal

Some institutions switched to remote learning due to the unstable weather conditions

by

Sahim Salim

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Published: Thu 26 Jan 2023, 10:03 AM

Last updated: Thu 26 Jan 2023, 2:45 PM

Some schools in Dubai and other emirates dispersed students early on Thursday, while a number of campuses switched to remote learning as unstable weather conditions persisted in the country.

Gems Education said Wellington International School, Dubai; Winchester School, Fujairah; and Westminster School, Ras Al Khaimah, moved classes online. The schools in Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah switched to remote learning based on directives issued by the Ministry of Education. "All other schools are open as usual," Gems Education said in a statement.


Maryssa O’Connor, principal/CEO, Gems Wellington, said the Dubai school went online due to the heavy downpour and flooding in the area. This impacted school infrastructure and campus access. “Knowing that further rains were forecast for today, the decision was made to switch to remote learning for precautionary and safety reasons. Our school leadership and facilities teams are working to ensure these are resolved as quickly as possible so we can reopen tomorrow.”

The principal added that parents and students were informed on Wednesday about “what we would do if the school had to close”.


“This supported and streamlined our communication with families early this morning, allowing learning to commence online for all students. Our teachers prepared online resources and lessons overnight to ensure there was a smooth start to the day. We thank our families for their support and understanding.”

She added that any decision to switch to remote learning is made only after careful consideration, consultation, and approval from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).

When asked how easy or difficult it is to switch to online learning at such short notice, O’Connor said: “Having relied on remote learning during the height of the Covid pandemic, our teachers, students and parents are well versed in online learning, with all systems in place to ensure a smooth transition and ensure teaching and learning can continue without delay.”

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Early dispersal

Parents in Dubai received text messages from school managements about the academic day ending earlier than usual due to “inclement weather and bad road conditions”.

“We request you to contact the driver for your wards’ drop off times. Please be aware that there could be delays owing to water-logged roads. Afternoon extensions and stay backs stand cancelled today. Own-transport students should be picked up at 12.30pm,” an Indian school said in a message to parents.

In a separate message, the school’s transport operator added: “Kindly ensure the availability of guardians/parents at the drop-off point for your ward.”

A British school said the day would end at 11.30am, with own-transport parents asked to pick their wards at 11.30am.

Another British school in Dubai offered a range of options to pick up students. It let parents collect their wards from as early as 11am. “All students will be supervised until collected by parents. We appreciate your flexibility and understanding in these times of uncertainty,” the school said.

E-learning during the rains

All public schools and some private ones in Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah switched to online learning for Thursday and Friday.

School managements informed parents about the switch via e-mails and WhatsApp. Schools in Kalba have been given the flexibility to go online if weather situation worsens.

(With inputs from Afkar Ali Ahmed)

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