Dubai: Rains cut final school days short for some students; emotions run high

Leaver’s breakfast, special assembly, signing T-shirts; all plans are now altered for senior students


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Thu 2 May 2024, 6:00 AM

Year 13 students in some Dubai schools are heartbroken because their final days of school have been shortened by two days. Seniors at Jumeirah College were left disappointed when they discovered that schools are switching to distance learning on Thursday and Friday due to the unstable weather conditions.

Emotional students

Speaking to Khaleej Times a few of these students reiterated that they were not mentally prepared for it yet.

Manahil Siddiki, a Saudi expat in the UAE, Year 13 student at Jumeirah College, said, “I was so upset after the news. Mentally, I wasn't ready for today to be my final day of school. You do feel sad that your school life is coming to an end, and you know that sooner or later it’ll come but I thought that I still had three more days to go before all this ended. This was abrupt, therefore it hit me.

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"I was really ‘heartbroken’ to hear that we will be moving to distance learning on 2 and 3 May. It was an emotional day today but I am happy that we at least got one day to say goodbye to our friends," she added.

She explained the special events that were planned for Friday will now be pushed to Monday as the Year 13 students will have one extra day of school on Monday.

“We will be going to school only for a few hours because originally our study leave was supposed to begin on 6 May. We will have a special assembly, the Leavers’ Breakfast, and then year 13 students will walk around the school one last time waving back at all the younger kids. It’s going to be quite bitter-sweet,” added Siddiki.

Zero days left

Students displayed a countdown on their board marking the days until school ended for everyone. Today, they had to reset it to show zero days left. Emotions ran high among students as they marked this occasion.

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

Nandini Bhattacharya, Year 13 student at Jumeirah College, said: “We had made grand plans for the Leaver’s Day breakfast this Friday. Parents were also invited for this event. My parents had blocked their calendars. We had sent videos and photos to be created into a reel that would have been shown to everyone at the event. We also had a spirit week planned, where everyone dressed up differently throughout the week. We had to get our T-shirts signed by our friends and teachers. These were the last days of school lessons. Now it’s been cut short.”

She added, “I am so emotional about this. If given an option, we would be willing to take the risk and come in considering it would have been the last day of our school. But I am feeling a little better now because the school will execute Friday’s plan on Monday. But the momentum and flow of things have definitely been disrupted. We will just go to school for a few hours on that day for these events.”

Lasting impressions

Nandini’s mother Madhulika Bhattacharya said her daughter displayed visible distress upon receiving the news that the weather had disrupted plans.

“While parents often cherish memories of their child's first day of school, children themselves typically do not recall it vividly, being quite young and often tearful upon their initial school experience. However, it's the final day of school that tends to leave lasting impressions in a child's memory. Next week they begin with their exams,” said the Umm Suqeim resident.

“My son, now in university, abruptly halted attending school mid-term due to the onset of Covid-19, resulting in the transition to online learning. Consequently, he missed out on experiencing the culmination of his school journey. With this happening to my daughter it brought back memories of a similar time,” said the mother of the Year 13 student.

Some schools delay start of study leave

Meanwhile, after the intense rainfall on 16 April, certain schools decided to move the start of study leave for their senior students to next Friday, May 10.

Gemma Thornley, Secondary Principal, GEMS Wellington Academy – Al Khail said, “So, our students would have been in school as normal this Friday. Whilst it is disappointing that celebrations may be reduced, our students have an amazing prom and graduation to look forward to after their exams, and we will go all out to ensure the event is extra special for them. We are so proud of our students’ resilience and hope the joy they have when they open their envelopes in August will help them remember their time at WEK fondly rather than the rain clouds that hindered some of their final days in Year 13.”


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