Back to school in Abu Dhabi: Excitement as students return for first day of on-site classes
Parents dropping off their kids directly at the school had to show negative PCR test results for themselves too, apart from their kids.
After months of remote learning from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, students at Abu Dhabi schools experienced a smooth and exciting return to campuses for on-site classes on August 29.
School buses ferrying pupils from Grades 2 to 12 began arriving at Al Basma British School in Al Bahia area of Abu Dhabi at 7am on Sunday.
Before allowing children to board the bus, school bus supervisors said they ensured every child presented a negative PCR test result, which they confirmed on the Al Hosn app on their parents’ phones.
Parents dropping off their kids directly at the school had to show negative PCR test results for themselves too, apart from their kids, to security guards at the entrances before being allowed into the school premises. The same applied to teachers and administrative staff who were reporting on day one of the school reopening.
“I’m so excited about returning to school for in-class lessons after spending a long time while studying from home,” said Grade 12 Emirati student Dalia Malik.
The 17-year-old, who had received two doses of the Covid vaccine, arrived at the school campus by bus at 7.30am.
“I feel safe returning to school after being vaccinated. I’m happy that I am going to meet my friends. I have missed them so much,” she said.
“I also missed physical learning because it helps me concentrate more compared to remote lessons.”
Filipino student Hanah Sitchon, 11, who is in grade 7 at the same school, says she too missed her classmates.
“It feels great returning to school for physical learning. I missed my friends and school activities.”
Allison McDonald, principal of Al Basma British School, said they have tried to ensure the first day of school is as smooth as possible.
“We have received 500 pupils on the first day out of the 1,700 students in the school, because we want children and parents to first get familiar with the measures for physical learning,” she said, adding that the school will offer face-to-face learning with pupils attending on-site classes daily. However, for the first week, they decided to start with the blended learning model.
Some parents faced delays in receiving the PCR test results for their children, so the school advised that pupils could return to the campus for physical learning on the second day (Monday) after they had received the required test results.
McDonald confirmed that the school had implemented all measures to ensure the safety of students at the campus and that more than 95 per cent of the teachers and other school workers have been vaccinated.
Algerian parent Kader Belmahdi, who brought in his two kids studying in Grades 3 and 5, said he was confident that it was safer now for the children to attend in-class lessons.
“The school has demonstrated commitment to the health and safety measures since the previous academic year,” he said.
“The administration also takes our opinions regarding children’s safety and education into consideration.”
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