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School Day 1 in UAE: Brush, breakfast and switch on

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai/Sharjah Filed on August 30, 2020 | Last updated on August 30, 2020 at 07.12 pm
Coronavirus, Covid19, School Day 1, UAE, Brush, breakfast, switch on, students,

(Photo by Ryan Lim/Khaleej Times)

Despite the 'distance', most parents and students have gotten used to the virtual learning set-up and enjoyed their 'first day' of classes online.

As educational institutions across the UAE warmly welcomed pupils back to school on Sunday, a majority of students experienced the first day of the term from the comfort of their homes.

Though schools across the UAE have put in place a robust infrastructure to ensure student safety, several parents and pupils Khaleej Times reached out to said they will continue to opt for distance learning until the 'Covid-19 pandemic situation' improves.

"I am waiting for the daily number of cases in the UAE to go down to two-digit numbers. I will be opting for distance learning classes for the rest of the academic year," said Amal Sameer, a Grade 8 student of Delhi Private School (DPS) - Sharjah.

Majority of her peers also feel this way, added Amal. Most of us do not want to take any risks, even though we really miss being on-campus. The school environment is very different now. I do not feel as connected to my teachers and classmates while in a virtual class."

Despite the 'distance', most parents and students have gotten used to the virtual learning set-up and enjoyed their 'first day' of classes online.

Iram Rizvi, an Indian parent with two children in GEMS Winchester School - Jebel Ali, said: "I have two children - Mishal Faraz,13, and Mir, 6. I've decided to continue 100 per cent distance education for both my kids. There are several reasons for this decision. The Covid-19 situation is ever-evolving and fluid in nature. My kids have adapted well to distance learning. Asking them to transition again to another system is not something I want them to go through."

"The pandemic threat is still out there. It has not fully gone. Also, the digital skills of my kids have vastly improved and they are having fun submitting assignments, etc," she added.

Furthermore, Iram's son suffers from asthma that puts him at a greater risk in case he contracts the virus.

Iram said her children enjoyed the first day of e-learning. "They had an introduction session today. The school leaders spoke to them about the 'new normal'. Classes should resume in the days to come."

Another parent, Simimol Raijo, a resident of Al Nahda, Dubai, said her kids are both students in a British curriculum school. "My daughter Aashika is Year 8 student, and my son is Aidden is in Year 3. Both are in separate schools. In my daughter's school, they have offered a mix of blended learning and total distance education."

Simimol chose to continue distance education for both her kids' so they can keep each other company at home. "On the days she does not have to go to school, she will be alone at home. In this way, her brother can keep her company. Since I am working and so is my husband, this encourages our kids to become more independent," she said.

Working parents continue to face another set of challenges, said Simimol. "Schools use different online infrastructure for classes. My son uses an application called Seesaw and my daughter uses MS Teams. When I am not at home, my daughter has to help my son use the app," she said.

Commenting on when she would like her kids to return to school, she said: "It is a big question mark. Safety is also important. Maybe by mid-term, I will decide what needs to be done." 



Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person, and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics, and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling, and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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