Covid-19: Abu Dhabi parents, kids excited for in-person classes to begin

Representational image - Reuters
Representational image - Reuters

Abu Dhabi - Students will be returning to their school campuses during the new academic year in September.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Fri 16 Jul 2021, 11:36 AM

Last updated: Fri 16 Jul 2021, 11:55 AM

Pupils returning to schools from the new academic year in September will be a huge relief for Abu Dhabi parents and children.

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, parents have had to juggle their jobs and monitoring their kids attending remote classes at home. On the other hand, children have been missing school activities like sports and playing with friends.

In June, the Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee said it approved the return of students to schools for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Hassan Ihsan, an Egyptian father, says he is happy the kids will return to school for face-to-face learning next term.

“I am confident it’s safe now for our children to go back to school for physical learning. I have already vaccinated my 13-year-old son in preparation for the new school year,” he said adding that he and his wife, who are both working, have been finding it hard to monitor their two boys in grades 6 and 8 as they have been attending classes remotely at home since last year.

Ihsan also believes kids concentrate and pay more attention during face-to-face classes than online.

“Besides missing the physical interaction with teachers, the children have also missed a lot on many practical skills and class activities.”

His son Ahmed says he will be excited to meet his friends again when he returns to school.

“It has been more than a year now attending classes online from home. I have missed hanging out with my classmates. I miss playing football and basketball at school with my friends,” said Ahmed.

Emirati working mother Sarah Mohammed says she has struggled to prepare her kids in grades 5 and 6 for the online classes due to her busy schedule.

“I am a working mother, and monitoring the kids during remote learning has been tough. I want my kids to return for in-class lessons during the new school year,” she said, adding that sometimes she had to delay going to work until the children completed the morning lessons, which affected her productivity at the job.

Her nine-year-old daughter, Salama, says she misses seeing her teachers and playing with classmates.

“I want to go back to school and meet my teachers and friends,” says Salama. “I am more active and energetic when attending physical classes because I interact directly with teachers and play with friends during break time.”

Private schools to offer hybrid learning model

Neeraj Bhargava, Principal of Abu Dhabi Indian School, which has more than 5,000 registered students, says the school is keen on having students returning for in-class lessons in the new academic year.

“The school will continue with the blended learning model with in-class learning for two days and three days for e-learning when pupils return for in-class lessons for the new school year,” he said.

“We have a large number of students, and we cannot accommodate all of them at school at the same time if we are to implement social-distancing measures.”

Bhargava noted that almost all the school staff have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

“Many of the students in upper classes have also received the vaccine. We are now seeking permission from the authorities to allow us to arrange vaccination programmes at the school for pupils aged 12 and above,” said the principal.

He added that the school had already put in the request but is yet to be approved by ADEK.

George Mathew, Principal and CEO of GEMS United Indian School, Abu Dhabi (UIS), says it has customised safe learning bubbles in the face of the pandemic.

“The number of students invited to share the space has now increased, and we are ready to welcome many more to school in September and experience the fun of learning collaboratively,” he said.

“Our teachers are fully geared to deliver the hybrid learning model that encourages physical participation in school as well as remote access online.”

Mathew added that their transport providers have also stepped up the safety protocols and increased their fleet of buses to ensure more students come to school safely.

“UIS believes in the ‘Safety First’ rule and is geared up to meet Covid safety measures to meet the needs of students opting face to face sessions with the teachers,” he said.

The principal pointed out that their teachers are utilising this summer vacation to build learning experiences. Face-to-face and remote learners systematically build cognitive thinking skills and learner behaviours that will deliver success in school, the workplace, and later life.

Mathew noted that over 90 per cent of their staff have received the Covid-19 vaccine.

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