New Covid test rule: Dubai schools say most staff are vaccinated

Dubai - Schools affirm community’s commitment to ensuring the safety of students.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Thu 8 Apr 2021, 6:04 PM

From teachers to administrators, drivers and security guards, most school staff in Dubai have already been vaccinated against Covid-19, principals have said, affirming the community’s commitment to ensuring students’ safety.

The emirate’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) on Wednesday announced mandatory weekly PCR tests for education sector employees who are eligible but choose not to take the jab. The new rule applies to everyone in the school community — whether working remotely or on campus.

In a number of schools in Dubai, like Credence High School, all staff members have already received the vaccine.

Deepika Thapar Singh, the school’s CEO-principal, said the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and the KHDA made the vaccination drive easy and convenient for their employees, with a specific centre assigned to them. “We are extremely grateful to the Rulers of this great country for providing free vaccines to all at an early stage,” she said, adding that the only way forward to protect the school community is to be vaccinated.

Hailing the new KHDA directive, Singh said: “It will build confidence among all the stakeholders and will also ensure that those who have not taken the vaccine will now be compelled to take it in the interest of all.”

Muhammad Ali Kottakkulam, principal of Gulf Indian High School Dubai, said more than 76 per cent of his staff members have already been jabbed.

“The remaining staff are either in their home countries or fall in the excluded group category,” he said. “To achieve this target, the school’s health team organised various awareness campaigns, encouraging staff members to join the DHA field vaccination drive.”

Kottakkulam said the additional measure that the KHDA had put in place would “definitely boost safety within school communities in Dubai”.

“It is closing even the possible chance of Covid virus transmission due to non-vaccination. It will also enable the process of restoring normalcy at the earliest,” he added.

Lalitha Suresh, principal of GEMS Our Own Indian School in Dubai, said 85 per cent of their teachers and other staff have already completed their vaccinations.

“Most of the remaining staff are not eligible for the vaccine because of health issues. Those few eligible staff who haven’t received the vaccine yet will have to undergo the weekly Covid test as per the new rule,” she said.

Suresh added that since mass vaccination was rolled out in the UAE a few months ago, the school has been encouraging its staff to get jabbed for their own protection and that of the entire school community.

File photo used for illustrative purpose
File photo used for illustrative purpose

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