UAE: Sharjah private schools set to return to in-class lessons

Nandini Sircar/Dubai
Filed on April 6, 2021
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Negative PCR test report a must to attend schools, the SPEA says

Private school pupils in Sharjah are gearing up to return to campus from coming Sunday (April 11).

However, pupils need negative PCR test results to attend classes. Pupils opting for in-class lessons in higher grades are either taking the Covid-19 jab or booking appointments for PCR tests.

Principals have announced that pupils aged above 12 years need to attend in-class lessons.

A pupil, who is above 12 years of age, needs to undergo a PCR test no more than 72 hours prior to attending in-class lessons on April 11.

Teresa Varman, Principal & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GEMS Millennium School, Sharjah, said, “Our parent community, students and staff have welcomed the Sharjah Private Education Authority's (SPEA) decision to resume on-site learning. More than 97 per cent of our school staff have been vaccinated and our primary focus will be on the health, safety, and wellbeing of all. We have made special arrangements for our students 12 years and older to be PCR tested in school ahead of the reopening, and in all our planning we have kept the concerns and sensitivities of our community at the forefront of our thinking. We’re eagerly looking forward to the vibrancy that our pupils will bring to our campus. There is no replacement for the wonderful energy that we create when we are together.”

Arogya Reddy, Principal, Ambassador School, Sharjah, said, “We’ve noticed an uptick in interest for face-to-face learning. Up to 50 per cent of our pupils are opting for onsite learning in the new academic year as opposed to around 30 per cent previously. Besides, the robust safety measures implemented by SPEA are boosting the confidence levels of parents. The regulatory body has mandated that students above the age of 12 need to present a negative PCR test report. Pupils need to present their valid school identity (ID) cards at designated centres where they have booked an appointment for the PCR test. The PCR tests are for free.”

Schools' employees are actively seeking to get fully vaccinated and continue to remain compliant with the guidelines stipulated by SPEA and other regulatory authorities.

All staff members are required to undergo a Covid-19 examination every 14 days unless they have received the two doses of the vaccine.

School communities in the emirate are following the layered safety procedures to ensure student’s academic success and well-being.

Jonathan Dey, Headmaster/CEO of Wesgreen International School Sharjah, said, “We’re excited to welcome our students back to school next week. As per SPEA instructions, pupils with an option of face-to-face learning will be required to provide a negative PCR test before joining on April 11. As we work towards a memorable conclusion to the Academic Year in Term 3, we remain determined to offer top-quality planning and instruction, alongside ensuring that each student feels supported through personalised learning, voice and choice, fun, and above all, care.”

Parents and their wards have shown visible interest in in-person lessons.

“My son, who is in Grade 12 and after a year of distance learning, has opted for blended learning. A few times a week, he will be going to school for face-to-face learning. He has taken the jab and as a result, does not have to go for the PCR test. It's appreciable fact that the vaccination drive along with the PCR test adds an impetus to parental confidence,” said Doli Ghosh, whose son is a pupil in GEMS Millennium School Sharjah.

A growing number of pupils in the emirate will be setting foot in their schools for the first time since last March.

Roji Ravi, a parent of two school-going children, said, “My daughter who is in Grade 4 will be going to school after a year. Our offices were closed and work from home was allowed. So, we kept our daughter home. But with the vaccination drive and the PCR tests in Sharjah schools for older children, returning for in-class lessons is undoubtedly instilling a sense of safety among all of us.”

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