Covid vaccine UAE: Schools see spike in students opting for campus lessons

Photo: Juidin Bernarrd
Photo: Juidin Bernarrd

Dubai - Many attributed this to the Covid-19 vaccine which has infused a sense of confidence among the student community.

By Nandini Sircar

Published: Sun 3 Jan 2021, 1:41 PM

Last updated: Sun 3 Jan 2021, 7:05 PM

Some Dubai schools recorded over 80 per cent attendance for onsite learning on the first day of school, after the 3-week winter break.

Many attributed this to the Covid-19 vaccine which has infused a sense of confidence among the student community.

Dubai's schools welcomed their students on Sunday, as they returned to classrooms after the holidays.

Matthew Tompkins, Principal CEO-Gems FirstPoint School The Villa, said: “There has been a lot of planning that has gone into the start of the new term, as we welcome 38 new joiners and an additional 92 students returning to face-to-face learning. This now means that we have more than 90 per cent of students who have returned to onsite learning. The conversations with parents on Sunday morning were very pleasant and focused on the excitement of the new term rather than any concerns around Covid-19.”

Some schools said that only a few families opted for distance learning, and a significant majority attended school from the first day of the term.

Nav Iqbal, Principal|CEO- GEMS Metropole School- Motor City, pointed out: “The footfall has been steady in our school. No rise seen as attendance figures for Sunday show 94 per cent attendance which was in line with the previous term.”

Others noted that they witnessed a pleasing gradual return to face-to-face teaching and expect this trend to continue in Term 2.

David Cook, Headmaster of Repton School Dubai and Chief Education Officer of the Repton Family of Schools, said: “Our overall message for parents is that after a term of careful vigilance and care, your children are safe to return to the campus and resume their lessons at school. During Term 1, the number of onsite pupils increased from 70 per cent to 84 per cent.”

Principals averred that the news of availability of Covid-19 vaccine is surely lifted the morale of parents and students.

Deepika Thapar Singh, CEO-Principal of Credence High School, underlined: “Our students are our strength and we are glad that the parents have shown confidence in us constantly. We see a rise in the number of children attending the onsite classes in this term and it gives us immense pleasure to have them adding cheers to our classrooms and corridors back again."

Parents, students voice confidence

Parents said the vaccine is definitely proving to be like a light at the end of the tunnel.

Deepti Nandy, parent of a kindergartener, stressed: “The vaccine gives the much-required assurance to parents that now we are gradually moving towards the normal that we had all known before Covid-19. As for children, experts have time and again stated that they are less likely to get infected and if at all, then the severity is much less. Therefore, as a parent I have complete faith in the system here and I am confident that schools are doing their best to keep their students safe. So, my son has been going to school and will continue to do so.”

Divisha Modi, an Indian expat, pointed out: “I always had complete faith in the school and I think it’s important for children to attend the classes physically, for their overall wellbeing. Keeping children for a long time at home is not possible. Coronavirus may be worrying but it will subside with time. Now, the vaccine is also building on to our confidence levels.”

Dylan Vickery, a Grade 7 student of GEMS FirstPoint School The Villa, said: “It’s been a great feeling being back to school today. It is really good to physically see my friends again. I enjoy socialising with them from a safe distance. The teachers and staff are doing an excellent job at keeping the school safe. I feel very confident being at school with the temperature checks, social distancing and wearing a mask; these protect us all."

Meanwhile, some students chose to continue with distance learning but their reasons were different.

Aaditya Gandhi, a Grade 10 student of The Winchester School, Dubai, pointed out: “As our grandparents are living with us, we have opted for online learning. We didn’t want to put them at risk; but once the vaccination drive is complete and everything is completely in control, we look forward to going back to school to interact with our classmates and teachers face-to-face.”

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