Covid-19: Poor attendance in Abu Dhabi private schools on the first day after break

Ismail Sebugwaawo /Abu Dhabi Filed on April 11, 2021
KT file photo

Majority of parents opt for a hybrid model of education over in-classroom lessons.

Private schools in Abu Dhabi on Sunday re-opened for the third semester after the end of the spring break.

However, in most private schools, a handful of pupils attended in-classroom lessons owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Private school principals said the majority of parents are in favour of persisting with online lessons, as hopes spring eternal about an improvement in the viral outbreak situation.

Neeraj Bhargava, Principal, Abu Dhabi Indian School (ADIS), said his institution, which has a strength of over 5,000 pupils, received a fraction for in-classroom lessons on the first day of the third semester.

“We’re keen for a better physical attendance, as almost all our staff members have been vaccinated,” he said.

“Majority of parents are in favour of online lessons, as they don’t want to take any chances until the Covid-19 pandemic situation improves,” he added.

Bhargava said that the blending learning model would be in force for those pupils who have opted for in-classroom lessons.

George Mathew, Principal and chief executive officer (CEO) of GEMS United Indian School (UIS), Abu Dhabi, of the total strength of 3,630 pupils, only 25 per cent physically attended the institution on Sunday morning after the spring break got over.

“The physical attendance is likely to rise in the coming days. We’re offering a hybrid model of learning while considering the parents’ request,” said Mathew.

He explained that taking into consideration their parents’ request, the school is offering a hybrid model.

“Pupils from kindergarten to Grade IX are free to choose an alternate day model. We’ve made a provision for a pupil to physically attend classes as per special approval after closely reviewing our regulators’ protocol. We’re offering a daily physical attendance model for our senior pupils.”

Mathew said over 90 per cent of the school’s employees have been administered the Covid-19 vaccine and the rest would be vaccinated soon.

He pointed out that the school’s dedicated team is working overtime to ensure all Covid-19 precautionary norms are complied with.

Anna Pagdiwalla, Principal of Mayoor School in Abu Dhabi, said: “Our new term started today. This week we’re conducting only online classes. From next week, blended learning will be followed. All our staff members have been vaccinated.”

She added: “A few pupils have been physically attending the school. The percentage of pupils coming for in-classroom lessons is higher than last year because of the parents’ growing confidence about the safety of their children.”

52% physical attendance at this Indian school

Dr Beno Kurien, Principal, International Indian School, Baniyas West – Abu Dhabi, said the physical attendance in his institution was a record 52 per cent.

“The remaining pupils are continuing with hybrid learning,” he said.

“Prioritising the safety and wellbeing of both pupils and educators and following the guidelines of Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK), the school welcomed back the students on the campus,” he said.

He noted that the school was continuing to encourage parents to send their wards for on-campus learning.

He reiterated that in-classroom lessons have tangible advantages that cannot be undermined.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

A professional journalist originating from Kampala, Uganda, Ismail is a happy father with strong attachment to family and great values for humanity. He has practiced journalism in UAE for the past 13 years, covering the country's parliament (FNC) and crimes, including Abu Dhabi Police, public prosecution and courts. He also reports about important issues in education, public health and the environment, with a keen interest in human interest stories. When out of reporting duties, he serves the Ugandan community in Abu Dhabi as he wants to see his countrymen happy. Exercising and reading are part of his free time.

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