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Abu Dhabi schools to have Covid-19 PCR test facility on campus

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi
ismail@khaleejtimes.com Filed on September 2, 2021
Reuters file photo

The initiative is aimed at protecting pupils and alleviating pressure on parents


Abu Dhabi schools will offer on campus Covid-19 PCR tests for pupils, teachers and school staff, regulators announced.  Trained health professionals will do the screening.

Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) on Thursday said it was collaborating with the Department of Health- Abu Dhabi (DoH) on this new initiative following a recent announcement by the National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA) for routine PCR tests.

Also read: Action to be taken against public school teachers refusing to take Covid jabs

Covid vaccine, PCR testing rules in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah

Kids must take PCR test every 2 weeks to return to school

NCEMA had earlier announced that all students of all ages must come with a negative PCR test result, taken within 96 hours, when returning to campuses for physical learning on August 29. The same procedure applied to teachers, administrative staff and third-party contractors.

During the first month, all students in the 12-18 age group — vaccinated or not — must get a PCR test result every two weeks, authorities said.

After the first month, weekly PCR tests will need to be undertaken by all unvaccinated students — except for exemptions approved by health authorities — in the age group of 12-18 years.

Routine PCR testing administered across the emirate’s schools are intended to increase convenience for parents, students, educators, and staff, who will no longer be required to visit external testing centres, Adek said.

The PCR test programme will also make school operations more efficient by minimising the impact on students and educators for potentially missing routine test dates and ensuring continuity of teaching and learning.

Dr Jamal Mohammed Alkaabi, Undersecretary of DoH said: “In collaboration with our partners at the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge, we have been able to provide a healthy and safe environment, not only for our students, but for their educators and families alike. By facilitating ease of access to routine testing for everyone within the education ecosystem in the emirate, students are able to achieve continuity of education without any interruption to their academic journey.”

Amer Al Hammadi, Adek undersecretary said: “The number of students returning to physical school across the emirate is high. As the education sector moves steadily towards full recovery and a return to normalcy, protecting the health and safety of our school community of students, educators and staff remains our highest priority.

“Through close consultation with schools and stakeholders, we identified the need for a robust PCR testing model to alleviate pressure on parents and students. Therefore, our collaboration with DoH will provide a Covid-19 PCR test solution across the entire school community. This test model will improve operational efficiencies and enable students and educators to access tests to schedule.”

Mahad Salem, a Sudanese father in Abu Dhabi has welcomed the initiative stressing that it would be a huge relief to many parents.

“I am happy with the new initiative. Having the PCR test for our children at their schools will be a very big relief to the parents,” said Salem.

“Last week, I faced a problem of waiting in the queue for a long time to have my kids tested for Covid-19 in preparation for the new school year.”

Schools will be responsible for informing parents of the individual school’s testing schedule, said Adek.

ismail@khaleejtimes.com

author

Ismail Sebugwaawo

A professional journalist originating from Kampala, Uganda, Ismail is a happy father with strong attachment to family and great values for humanity. He has practiced journalism in UAE for the past 13 years, covering the country's parliament (FNC) and crimes, including Abu Dhabi Police, public prosecution and courts. He also reports about important issues in education, public health and the environment, with a keen interest in human interest stories. When out of reporting duties, he serves the Ugandan community in Abu Dhabi as he wants to see his countrymen happy. Exercising and reading are part of his free time.





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