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Dubai: Near-100% student attendance expected in classrooms after summer break

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on June 28, 2021
Reuters

For the first time since schools reopened in Dubai, the emirate is now seeing more students in face-to-face classes.


As schools wrap up classes for the long summer break ahead, teachers and principals are also looking forward to a near-100 per cent physical attendance when students come back for the new academic year.

For the first time since schools reopened in Dubai, the emirate is now seeing more students in face-to-face classes than those in distance learning, according to the data released by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). Fifty-two per cent are engaging in on-site classes and blended learning.

With mass vaccinations for 12 to 15-year-olds in full swing on campuses, schools are confident that more students will be back in classrooms in September, provided that the Covid-19 situation remains stable.

The UAE’s education experts said the country’s robust vaccination drive has ushered in “new hope” for the sector as they speak to students and parents at ahead of the two-month holiday that begins from next week.

Lisa Johnson, principal of American Academy for Girls, said: “In our school, we have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of positive cases of Covid-19 with the onset of vaccination availability to staff and students. At one point this year, we had a third of the staff out for close contact. We have had very few Covid-related absences in the last months.”

According to the latest KHDA landscape report, 97 per cent of eligible school staff in the emirate have already had at least one Covid-19 vaccination.

“We anticipate that parents will feel confident that the health of their children is not at risk and will want all students to attend face-to-face classes in September. While safety is our first priority, our staff is very excited about the prospect of having all the students in class,” Johnson added.

Rashmi Nandkeolyar, principal and director of DPS Dubai, said “the vaccination drive has made every student, family, school and the society at large safer. It will definitely mean that parents will feel secure in sending their children to the campus”.

A number of parents who had opted for online classes are much relieved and confident about sending their kids back to campuses.

Michael Pantoja, a parent of a student at GEMS Winchester School–Dubai, said: “My son has been learning online 100 per cent this year but we are now looking to send him back.”

Students are feeling more optimistic, too, knowing that a larger portion of their schoolmates will be vaccinated before the new academic year.

Saira Sambhar, Year 9 student at GEMS Wellington International School, said: “I feel really lucky to be able to get the vaccine. In some countries, even the adults don’t have the vaccine yet, and we do. I’m looking forward to the next academic year and not feeling anxious or worrying that people might be sick.”

Aryan C, a 16-year-old student of Jumeirah College, added: “Earlier, so many of my classmates would be absent as someone would contract Covid-19 or be in close contact with a patient. Then the entire class would have to switch to online classes as a precautionary measure. But now such incidents have reduced visibly, with more students getting vaccinated. Although I have opted for face-to-face classes all along, I am excited to see many more of my classmates returning to school.”

nandini@khaleejtimes.com





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