Dubai rains: School staff work overnight to ready campuses for students

Tuesday night saw housekeeping staff dedicatedly tackling waterlogging issues, fixing electrical supplies to be able to receive students soon


Nandini Sircar

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File photo used for illustrative purposes only
File photo used for illustrative purposes only

Published: Thu 18 Apr 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Thu 18 Apr 2024, 4:10 PM

The support staff in Dubai schools have been working tirelessly, even staying overnight in schools, to prepare the institutions for the students’ return to their campuses next week.

Tuesday night saw housekeeping staff dedicatedly tackling waterlogging issues, repairing leaks, and fixing electrical supplies, all aimed at ensuring the school’s readiness for the coming days after heavy rains lashed the emirate.

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After two days of remote learning on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) announced today that “all Dubai private schools, nurseries, and universities must continue to offer distance learning on April 18 and 19".

Meanwhile, as per the directives of the emirate’s education regulator, institutions are leaving no stone unturned in prioritising the health and safety of the school community above all other considerations.

Ahead of the reopening on April 22, principals have been robustly reviewing their schools’ preparations and its readiness to receive students after the inclement weather.

Khaleej Times reached out to Principals in Dubai to understand what the preparations entail.

Zubair Ahmad, COO, Springdales School Dubai said, “We have three buildings in the school campus and we couldn’t leave it as it is. We had to make accommodation arrangements for housekeeping and people providing other facilities to stay overnight so that in case of any adversity we can work it out. There could be water logging in the classrooms or at the sports facilities. Certain areas have been cordoned off which we feel shouldn’t be used at the moment. The wellbeing and safety of our students and staff is paramount.”

“The housekeeping staff and specialists who handle the MEP systems like electrical, plumbing, and pump rooms, or people who are responsible for maintaining underground tanks, were required to perform their duties without any option,” he added.

Hence, school principals praised the education regulator’s decision, emphasising that operating school buses on Thursdays would have presented a considerable challenge for all road users, among other concerns.

“Water has receded in almost all areas, but it is still there at certain points. Crossing those points for a school bus would have been extremely difficult,” Ahmad added.

Student and staff safety is paramount

Headteachers highlighted that the KHDA’s decision reflects a commitment to student and staff safety.

Principal, Amity School Dubai, Sangita Chima, said, “Continuing with distance learning on April 16 and 17 is a very good decision taken by the KHDA. While learning continues online with quality engagement and active participation, disruption in public transportation, power and internet outages and waterlogged basements have impacted many communities with adversities. Safety is always our foremost priority.”

School groups reiterated the proactive approach ensures that education can proceed without risking the well-being of students, educators, and their families.

Zafar Raja, Group Chief Operating Officer, GEMS Education said, “None of our schools in the UAE have suffered serious structural damage in the storms, but all have been impacted to some degree through wind damage or flooding. Our support teams have been working around the clock to deal with the issues and we salute them for their dedication and professionalism. Additionally, many of our schools are still not accessible by road and this would have been a major factor in our decision-making surrounding the re-opening of campuses.”


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