UAE schools: Parents juggle kids' online classes with work amid rising Covid cases

Families in quarantine grapple with 'logistical challenges' as several institutions switched to remote learning



By Nandini Sircar

Published: Mon 3 Jan 2022, 5:50 PM

Last updated: Mon 3 Jan 2022, 5:51 PM

As many schools reopened today, some families who were Covid positive after the winter break struggled with their children's remote learning classes while keeping pace with their own office work.

N Nandi's encounter with Covid-19 began last Tuesday when her five-year-old son tested positive. Soon after, she also tested positive for the virus, quarantining quickly with her son.

But after schools in the UAE reopened today for in-person learning post-winter break, Nandi feels "physical difficulties take a back seat in view of the logistical challenges of online schooling," especially with kids who are as young as her child.

ALSO READ:

Ms Nandi says, "I work for a media company; sometimes my work merits immediate attention and delivery. On the other hand, my son's online classes today required me to be physically around him as he was unable to navigate on the TEAMS app independently. Muting and unmuting are all he can do on his own. But then the teacher gave further classwork which needed to be completed on the app which is installed on the iPad."

She adds, "The teacher was also asking remote learners to take printouts of sheets, finish the assignment and then upload it. This requires constant attention from a grown-up. But I found it really difficult to do all this as I had my own work deadlines."

People also find regular chores difficult during quarantine, such as cooking or cleaning, as they are usually delegated to domestic help.

"Hygiene and proper sanitization become more important when you are unwell. So, while work is a good distraction, another challenge is how do you make the new reality more bearable for your young child who is in isolation while others are in school? My son wanted to be in the school with the rest of his classmates today. I had to explain the situation calmly to him", added the Dubai resident.

Stuck in a similar situation is H Arsiwala's family.

He says, "I was recently tested positive and have been advised home quarantine for a few days until I test negative again. Being into sales, working from home is not the best option, as personal interactions with clients is very important."

"While work-from-home is a great option, I personally prefer working from office, not only because it has all things in place, but also because it's easier to focus when at work). To top it, my daughter will also have to continue with online school until I am given a clean chit."

At least 30 schools in Dubai temporarily switched to distance learning yesterday afterseveral staff members and returning students tested positive for Covid or have been identified as close contacts with someone who carries the virus.

"We've done a test for my daughter yesterday and hoping to receive the results today. Her school has also been cooperative and allowed distance learning until her results are out. But then again, there were several technical issues that she faced today, which made the first day of the school a little challenging for her", added the Indian expat.


More news from Education