UAE Covid-19 vaccines: Schools hope to see more students back in class

Dubai - One academic institution in Dubai said it has been designated as a vaccination centre.

(Photo: Government of Dubai Media Office/Twitter)
(Photo: Government of Dubai Media Office/Twitter)

By Nandini Sircar

Published: Wed 23 Dec 2020, 5:40 PM

Last updated: Wed 23 Dec 2020, 5:48 PM

School heads are predicting a higher student footfall in the new year, following the arrival of two kinds of novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccines in the UAE.

Some academic institutions are being designated as vaccine centres that will exclusively cater to the education fraternity.

Positive sentiments have emerged, as the education sector is set to get a facelift in the new year, thanks to the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccines in the UAE, including the latest Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and China’s Sinopharm jab.

Calling it a ‘big relief’, the academic community is looking forward to taking the jab.

School authorities are hoping that the move will inject more confidence among the teaching and non-teaching staff as well as parents, who may now consider sending their wards back to classrooms from January after the ongoing three-week winter break gets over.

One of the school heads explained that her institution has been chosen as a designated vaccine centre by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).

Sangita Chima, the principal of Amity School in Dubai, said, “Our staff members are keen to take the vaccine. We’re also proud to announce that our school clinic has been designated as a vaccine centre by the DHA.”

She added: “We're doing our bit to make the vaccination process easier for staff, students and parents. There has been a steady increase in the number of students returning to the school over the past few months.

"The availability and access to the jab will definitely give parents a sense of safety and security. As residents of the UAE, we’re fortunate to have access to a range of vaccines for free of cost. This will play a big role in ensuring we begin the New Year with a sense of renewed hope and confidence.”

Schools to encourage staff to take the jab

School principals reiterated that they would strongly encourage their staff to take the jab. They also cited that the move would mean more takers for onsite classes and an eventual return to normalcy.

Brendon Fulton, Executive Principal, Dubai British School, Jumeirah Park, said: “It will give a boost to the education sector and to the economy as a whole. We will be encouraging all staff to take the jab at the earliest. Given the differences of opinion on the two vaccines, I’m hopeful that the regulators will mandate this for essential staff such as teachers who interact with children daily.”

According to the regulators in the UAE, Sinopharm vaccine is 86 per cent effective. While Pfizer-Biotech’s test results show its Covid-19 vaccine has a 95 per cent efficacy rate.

He added: “We are hopeful that news and rollout of the vaccine will encourage all parents to send their children back to school. Significantly, we’re hopeful that restrictions and regulations in classrooms, such as the wearing of masks and social distancing, will gradually be eased. Soon, children can return to normal interactions that add such value to their education.”

Head teachers thanked the UAE Government for the swift introduction and implementation of the Covid-19 vaccines amid an all-round sense of relief.

Mohammad Ali Kottakkulam, the principal of Gulf Indian High School, said: “It’s quite a big relief to learn that finally the vaccination programme is open for the public in UAE. I thank the Government authorities for going through all the formalities carefully and making it accessible to the public. It will give a big boost to the academic community, which is majorly affected due to the pandemic, especially when the Indian curriculum schools are entering the final term of their academic year.”

Echoing similar sentiments and thanking the wise leadership of the UAE, Deepika Thapar Singh, the chief executive officer (CEO) and principal of Credence High School, Dubai, said, “The vaccine has sent a positive message to all the sectors. We need to thank the people who have been working tirelessly to make these vaccines and to the wise leadership of this great country to bring the jab to us so quickly and free of cost.”

She added, “I will be taking the Pfizer-Biotech vaccine at the earliest for which we have all been eagerly waiting for long. I’m sure that the staff and parents would also be taking the vaccine, as this is the only way forward. We must take the jab in a bid to protect each other and the world at large from the contagion.”

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