UAE: Residents report 'almost no traffic' as country kicks off new workweek

Few private companies granted employees the flexibility to work from home with the new surge of Covid-19 cases



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by

Sherouk Zakaria

Published: Mon 3 Jan 2022, 6:19 PM

Last updated: Mon 3 Jan 2022, 6:23 PM

With most schools and private firms shifting online amid the surge in Covid-19 cases, employees experienced a smooth drive to work as they ushered into a new working week.

On Monday morning, the first official day of the new working week, Dubai Police took to Twitter to urge people to drive safely as heavy rains continue to fall across different parts of the country.

Ahmed Al Ansari, who lives in Sharjah and works in Dubai, reported almost no traffic going to work, especially as some schools in Sharjah announced a shift to distance learning for 48 hours.

He added that as a parent, he received the school's decision to shift online on Sunday night after difficulties in getting a Covid-19 test for his children in overcrowded centres.

"We were relieved with the decision as it gives us more time to get the tests done while granting a safe school environment to our children," said Al Ansari.

However, he expects the traffic to begin later this week when more students return to on-campus learning.

Huwaida Osman, mother of two, said the traffic from Sharjah to Dubai was unusually smooth on Monday morning.

"We expected heavy traffic with the start of the new working week, but we woke up to almost no traffic at all."

As a private sector employee, Osman was granted the flexibility to work from home with the new surge of Covid-19 cases. "Working remotely enabled me to assist my children into going back to school online while giving me time to adjust to the new working week."

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As the 4-day week begins in Sharjah schools, Osman said the family is still adjusting the schedule to meet the new system of schools in Sharjah and the private firms in Dubai.

"I am still uncertain about the children's activities on their 3-day weekend while I am at work, but we are still sorting it out," added Osman.

Mohammed Adel, Engineer in Dubai, said it would take time to adjust to the new working week, but starting the year with an easy drive gave a positive start to the day.

With schools going online, he noted that employees and parents would have an opportunity to get introduced to the new working week gradually.

At least 30 schools in Dubai announced a temporary switch to distance learning when classes started on Monday, January 3, after a number of staff and families tested positive for Covid-19 or had been in close contact with someone who did.

In Dubai, 26 out of 28 GEMS schools announced moving online temporarily.

The Sharjah Private Education Authority also gave the option for schools to go online from 48 hours to one week as parents found it challenging to secure a PCR test for their children amid crowds that were witnessed in testing centres.

sherouk@khaleejtimes.com


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