Dubai schools: Assemblies, extra-curricular activities, outdoor trips to resume
School principals say KHDA's protocols are a glimpse of return to normalcy
School principals have said that the Knowledge and Human Development Authority’s (KHDA) protocols are a definitive pointer towards a return to normalcy, as the emirate has made a remarkable recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been raging over the past 18-odd months.
Extra-curricular activities, lunch breaks, visits to libraries and outdoor trips are permissible akin to pre-Covid-19-pandemic levels from October 3 onwards, the KHDA has announced.
Principals have reiterated that the UAE government’s robust vaccination drive has instilled confidence among communities and the education regulator’s reopening protocols have reinforced cautious optimism.
Simon Herbert, Principal of GEMS International School, Al Khail, said, “’Good things come to those who wait’! Our school leaders, teachers, pupils and parents have waited patiently. The announcement has given a glimpse of normalcy. The KHDA’s announcement of the protocols for the start of the new school year for private institutions provide a cautiously optimistic vision of the way ahead. It has urged schools to continue their excellent work in protecting the health and wellbeing of their pupils and staff while relaxing several rules that were imposed earlier.”
Around 95 per cent of the parents had opted for in-classroom teaching in the last term and that figure would go 100 per cent soon, he said.
He added, “I’m delighted that the confidence of our staff, pupils and parents in our safety measures is now reflected in the announcements. We’re excited that aspects of school life that would previously have been considered ‘normal’, such as assemblies, extra-curricular activities, lunchtime breaks, visits to a library etc, are again permissible. It’s so pleasing to be able to allow our pupils to benefit, not only from each other’s company, but from the facilities at our disposal."
Punit MK Vasu, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), The Indian High Group of Schools, said, “It’s fantastic to see the KHDA reopening protocols, which clearly show the forward-thinking nature of the private education sector regulator that we’re blessed with. It strikes the right balance between public health and safety with a pragmatic approach, which Dubai is famous for. We welcome these new protocols, which will gradually help us ease back to face-to-face learning and away from the ‘new normal’ ”.
Principals said that the KHDA’s announcement has been overwhelmingly positive.
Karim Murcia, Principal of GEMS Al Barsha National School, said, “We’re delighted that the KHDA’s back to school protocols confirm that our pupils will enjoy a full and rich learning experience this year. We’re particularly thrilled about the 100 per cent return to face-to-face learning from October 3 onwards. Swimming sessions, outdoor trips, extra-curricular activities, performances and assemblies will enable our pupils to integrate better socially and help make outstanding progress in their all-round learning.”
He added, “We’ll continue to adhere strictly to all regulatory guidelines such as social distancing, proper wearing of masks and maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene to ensure that our pupils, their parents and our staff stay safe and healthy throughout the exciting academic year ahead.”
Akram Tarik, Principal of GEMS Founders School, Al Mizhar, said, “I’m thrilled with the recent KHDA update. It has been a while, but we’re ready to welcome all our pupils back. We can’t wait! It’s our young people who are the beacon of light in this dark period of our history. So, whatever needs to be done, will be done because they're worth it. This year has reminded us that schools are more than just places of learning: they are communities, which bring people together. Over the past year, we've found several ways to keep that community going when we cannot all physically be in the same space. However, there's no substitute for a human touch.”
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