Covid-19: Dubai schools encourage students to attend on-site classes


Dubai - Parents are being asked to fill survey forms, especially ahead of the new academic year in Indian schools, to explore opinions on online and onsite teaching.

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By Nandini Sircar

Published: Sat 6 Mar 2021, 5:40 PM

Last updated: Sat 6 Mar 2021, 5:59 PM

Dubai schools are encouraging students to return for onsite learning with many schools in the emirate conducting surveys to gauge parents’ sentiments about the same.

Parents are being asked to fill survey forms, especially ahead of the new academic year in Indian schools, to explore opinions on online and onsite teaching. These are meant to take stock of their perception about how safe they feel to send their wards for on-campus learning again.

Additionally, the UAE’s robust vaccination drive is instilling confidence in the education community with schools highlighting the safety protocols that they are adhering to.

Muhammad Ali Kottakkulam, principal, Gulf Indian High School Dubai, said: “We are in the process of updating our data on parental readiness to send their wards for the new academic year. Currently, we are encouraging parents of senior grades to send their wards to school to adopt onsite learning, especially with respect to practical lessons while strictly following the Covid-19 protocol in letter and spirit.”

Meanwhile, another school’s recent 'Survey on Blended and Distance Learning' stated: “The Millennium School-Dubai is gearing up to welcome our students for the new academic session 2021-22 which begins on April 5, 2021. As the situation warrants, the school will continue to provide the option of a blended or online learning model till such time as necessitated by the regulatory body.”

Michael Guzder, vice president–education, GEMS Education, pointed out: “GEMS Education schools continue to offer a choice of in-school, blended and remote learning, with all our families free to select the model that best suits their individual circumstances and needs. This is in line with existing directives from the relevant regulators, whose guidance we continue to follow and welcome. The robust measures in place across the GEMS network are reviewed on a regular basis in conjunction with the UAE authorities. In this way, GEMS parents can send their children into school knowing that every step has been taken to keep them protected at all times.”

School representatives also contended that decisions on mode of education are taken bearing in mind the highest safety standards, which is the number one priority. All decisions around whether to adopt in-person, remote or blended learning, are made with this in mind.

Lalitha Suresh, of GEMS Our Own Indian School, opined: “We are encouraging parents to send their children to school for face-to-face learning. Needless to say, we cannot compel anyone and it’s up to the parents to decide what they choose for their wards. But in the Indian schools, we are headed for a new academic year and it would be nice to see our students back on campus as many of them have spent one complete year studying at home.”

Institutions also highlighted that their transition back to in-person learning has been smooth and successful so far.

Sangita Chima, principal, Amity School Dubai, underlined: “As more and more parents get vaccinated, we have seen a consistent increase in students moving from distance learning back to in-person learning.”

She added: “2020 taught us how to collectively manage challenges in a swift and creative manner, which is why we are encouraging parents to send students back to school. From security, safety and crisis management to student well-being and contact tracing, schools are now equipped, ready and prepared to meet any and all parent requirements. The advantages of in-person education are undeniable and we are prepared and excited to see more and more students opting to return to school.”

Deepika Thapar Singh, CEO-principal, Credence High School, said: “The Credence staff members, including academic and non-academic, have taken the vaccine and all safety protocols are followed stringently. Parents are confident to send their children and over the last few months, we have been seeing a steady growth in the number of students opting for face-to-face learning. We are confident that most students will join the new academic session for on-campus classes.”

She added: “We have sent an email to all the parents to confirm their interest in their child’s learning model (remote learning or face-to- face learning onsite) for the new academic year starting April 2021.”

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