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Parents of private school students in Abu Dhabi will have to finalise their kids’ learning model before classes begin in September — and they will have to stick to the model they chose until the end of the semester, the authorities have clarified.
The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) had earlier identified learning models, which private schools can choose from. These include face-to-face learning, where pupils can attend schools daily; partial in-class learning, where the number of school hours are reduced; and hybrid learning model, which calls for alternate days of in-classroom teaching.
Though some private schools recommended face-to-face lessons, they said parents would need to take the final call about the health safety of their children.
However, once they make a decision, they will not be allowed to switch from one learning mode to another in the middle of a school term, Adek has said in a report published in Arabic daily Emarat Al Youm. This is to avoid any disruption to educational programmes.
“Although we encourage physical attendance in school, we’re fully prepared to meet the personal choice of our parents. Our learning models have come up with strategies that justify high performance learning for all,” George Mathew, principal and CEO of GEMS United Indian School (UIS), Abu Dhabi, earlier told Khaleej Times.
Adek also emphasised that necessary support must be provided to students of determination and their families so they can obtain educational resources. Their attendance should also be monitored accordingly.
Only six valid reasons for absence in class
Whether in face-to-face classes ot remote learning sessions, students’ attendance is mandatory and only six reasons will be considered valid for one’s absence.
These reasons include illness; death of a close family member; registered medical appointments; an official duty to serve the community; mandatory appearance before the authorities; and travelling with the family for emergency reasons, such as medical treatment or death of a family member.
Upon returning to school, the student must present a letter signed by the parent or an official document as proof, clarifying the reason for their absence.
Adek had earlier released a raft of updated precautionary Covid safety policies for the new academic year, which included the vaccination requirement for everyone entering schools, including all students aged 16 years and over, as well as school staff and visiting parents, and scaling down physical distancing to one metre within classrooms and throughout school grounds.
Officials noted that while the back-to-school policies aim to facilitate a safe return to in-class education for as many pupils as possible, distance learning will remain an option for children with chronic illnesses; those aged 16 and above who are not vaccinated; and those who wish to continue learning online if the model is offered by their school.
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