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Abu Dhabi to reach out to parents for their say on school reopening

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi Filed on June 24, 2020
Official says for those parents who feel unsafe to send their kids to school, distance learning will be an option.

(File photo)

Education regulator to conduct survey among parents on resuming classroom education from next academic year.

Parents and students will play a major role alongside the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) in shaping a safe return to classrooms education. The Ministry of Education (MoE) has announced that a plan is in place to assess the potential reopening of schools for the new academic year, according to education regulators in Abu Dhabi.

The MoE on Monday issued a set of guidelines for a possible reopening of schools, universities and nurseries in the next academic year in September. Anoud Abdullah Al Hajj, official spokesperson for the MoE, said a plan has been developed to discuss the possibility of resuming studies in all government and private educational institutions by adhering to strict precautionary measures.

With regulators in each emirate responsible for working with education institutions to chart back-to-school policies for faculty, students and parents in adherence to safety guidelines issued by the government, Adek will ensure Abu Dhabi parents have their say on specific variables via a comprehensive and anonymous survey run in collaboration with schools.

On Tuesday, Dubai's Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) announced that schools and universities in the emirate will be allowed to open and operate from the start of the 2020/21 academic year. The authority said it had asked schools to consult with parents, teachers and students when choosing the best model for them in order to follow the safety precautions.

"Adek is fully aligned with the ministry on the potential reopening of schools in September and we look forward to welcoming back our community of students, teachers, staff and parents," Sara Musallam, chairperson of Adek, said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

"At the same time, we are conscious of the ongoing impact the last few months have had on families. So, we want to hear parental feedback and concerns about sending their children back to school as their opinion matters very much. We are launching this survey to aggregate insights, which will shape the schools' return to classroom operations as we continue navigating the new normal together."

She added: "I know how hard schools and parents have been working to enable students to learn at home, and they all deserve tremendous appreciation for their efforts. However, nothing can replace a classroom setting and, as we prepare for the new academic year, we have a duty of care to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff."

According to Musallam, if some parents still feel unsafe about sending their children back to school, they will always have the option of distance learning. "I would urge parents to get involved in that process by completing the survey to ensure every student in Abu Dhabi has the safest and best possible return to class," she said.

Survey to gauge opinions

The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) will conduct a survey to listen to the opinion of parents on school reopening. The survey covers a range of topics, from the number of children per household and how they usually travel to and from the school, to preferences on school reopening, duration and format of school day, and whether parents intend to send their children to school.

The research will also consider how families were affected by Covid-19 and what level of financial support their school has offered in recent times.

Reopening models may look different for each school based on their situation, while the provision of continued distance learning will cater for parents who prefer this model due to personal situations. Each school will receive reopening guidelines for safe operations, teaching and learning and staff and student wellbeing.

Ismail Sebugwaawo

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