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International Baccalaureate to Cancel All 2020 Exams in Wake of Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic CONFIRMED

International Baccalaureate to Cancel All 2020 Exams in Wake of Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic CONFIRMED

by Jon WestleyMarch 22, 2020

 International Baccalaureate to Cancel All 2020 Exams in Wake of Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic CONFIRMED

The International Baccalaureate organisation is to cancel all examinations to reflect the impact of the Coronavirus Covod-19 crisis on students.

The decision will see the cancellation of both the International Baccalaureate Diploma and the International Baccalaureate Career-related Programme examinations. The examinations were due to take place in April and May 2020.

In a letter sent to schools and examiners on Sunday 22 March 2020, the IB organisation said that the 2020 examinations, which were originally scheduled for between April 30 and May 22 for Diploma Programme and Career-related Programme students, would no longer be held.

The organisation argues that it had taken the decision to be fair to students:

“[This is the…] most responsible and ethical way forward”

International Baccalaureate organisation. 22 March 2020

In its full statement published on 23 March 2020 confirming the move, the International Baccalaureate organisation said:

“Our students, their well-being and their progression in future stages of life have been at the forefront of our thinking as we respond to this extraordinary pandemic.

As an organization, it is critical for us to ensure that the options we provide our global community of IB World schools are based on compassion for our students and teachers and, fairness for the difficult circumstances our students and educators are experiencing. We are grateful for your patience and consideration.

As a result, the IB with considerable advisement from stakeholders across the globe including schools, students, universities and official bodies has determined the most responsible and ethical way forward.

The IB will be taking the following actions for the 2020 May Examination session:

  • The May 2020 examinations as scheduled between 30 April and 22 May for Diploma Programme and Career-related Programme candidates will no longer be held.
  • Depending on what they registered for, the student will be awarded a Diploma or a Course Certificate which reflects their standard of work. This is based on student’s coursework and the established assessment expertise, rigor and quality control already built into the programmes.

Full detail and FAQs will be sent to schools by 27 March 2020 (CET).

We know that schools and May 2020 students will have many questions and we will continue to be available to answer questions. Our goal continues to be to find ways to support our global community during these uncertain times and provide the best possible outcomes for our students.

Information about the Middle Years Programme eAssessment examinations due to be held 11-22 May will be provided next week.”

The decision will mean that more than 200,000 students now face decisions on their final grading being being made based on coursework and achievement, as has been put in place for UK curriculum students who had also been due to sit examinations which have now been cancelled because of the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic.

The International Baccalaureate organisation released the following statement on 22 March 2020:

“Due to COVID-19, schools are currently closed in many countries across the world. The IB is monitoring the situation closely.

The IB, like other examination bodies, is treating the challenges that this pandemic is presenting for our worldwide school community very seriously. We have deep empathy for the impact this is having on over 200,000 IB students across the globe and are currently reviewing all available options. We are gathering feedback from schools, students, universities and official bodies to determine the most judicious way forward. It is critical for us to ensure that the options we provide our world of schools are done with compassion for our students and teachers and fairness for the difficult circumstances our students and educators are experiencing. Ultimately, we want to ensure that our students have every chance of success as they pursue university entry or future career plans. Our students are at the forefront of our thinking as we navigate this extraordinary global pandemic.

We are working through these options with the utmost urgency and will be providing a decision on the May 2020 examination session and the options available for schools and students no later than 27 March 2020.”

Previously the International Baccalaureate Organisation had said that it would not cancel examinations.


IB Web Site Crashes as students, families and parents seek answers

The decision follows a day in which the International Baccalaureate web site has not been available to parents and students desperate to know whether the examinations would proceed:


IB Web Site crashed as students seek confirmation from International Baccalaureate that it has " Cancels All 2020 Exams for Students in Wake of Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic"

One parent said to us:

“We urgently need to know what is happening. And now we have broken the Internet trying to find out as the whole IB site has gone offline.”


Schools Respond to Parent’s Worries

“The IB have announced that they are following the lead of other examination bodies and that the summer 2020 examinations are now cancelled.

This was not unexpected news for our schools and in anticipation of this we already had contingency plans in place to mitigate the challenges of this announcement.

The Taaleem family of schools are well prepared and ready to take the next steps to ensure that none of our students are unfairly disadvantaged by this announcement. Our IB students will continue to work with their teachers to ensure that their assessments truly reflect their performances in their IB study components. These assessments will be used and moderated by the IB to award final examination grades.

The IB will shortly announce how they will provide students with official documentation for use with university admissions now that examinations have been cancelled. We will work closely with our students, many of whom have received offers from colleges and universities, to ensure that they will be able to successfully follow the next planned pathway in their educational journey.

We appreciate that this is a time of great concern for both our students and parents and we have assured them that we will keep them apprised of developments as they happen.  We also committed to communicating factually as information becomes available from the IB and to be wary of information gained from other sources.

Our teachers will be there to support our students both now, throughout the summer and beyond during these unprecedented times and in these exceptional circumstances.”

Gavin Walford-Wright, Chief People, Marketing and Admissions Officer, Taaleem


“It is disappointing for any student to learn that the examinations for which they have been working for the past two years are cancelled, whether that be for GCSE, A’ Level, BTEC, IB Diploma or IB Carer-related Programme.

This is particularly the case for those students who hold conditional offers for universities around the world – they will be understandably anxious about their futures at this time.

Students can draw some reassurance from the fact that this is a global problem that touches all examination curricular and all university admissions offices.

Students and Parents should also draw comfort from the fact that universities and exam boards are working together with schools to ensure the best possible outcome for this generation of school leavers.

Mark Steed. Principal and CEO. The Kellett School.

Next Steps for Parents

Parents are advised to contact their school or the IB’s Adverse Circumstances team here.

The International Baccalaureate web site can be found here.


Backgrounder – Key Facts Today at a Glance and What to Do if you Believe that You or Your Children are Infected or You are Locked Out of the UAE

Help for Parents with Coronavirus Covid 19 with FAQ and status update

As of 3 March 2020, the World Health Organisation calculated that the Coronavirus Covid-19 virus has an average 3.4% fatality rate making it 30 times more deadly than the flu virus. The flu virus kills between 290,000 and 650,000 people a year globally. The earliest estimation for global availability of a vaccine is projected to be September 2021.

As of 09:00, 22 March 2020, 322,315 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in 87 countries and territories, including 13,738 deaths. The pandemic is now resulting in almost 2,000 deaths per day worldwide.

Infection rates vary in countries between 1% and 6% depending on multiple factors including the age of the population.

The current death rate from closed cased is 11%.

The UAE government has so far been successful in containing the virus to just 140 cases as of 19 March 2020. The UAE reported its first two deaths from Coronavirus Covid-19 on Friday 20 march 2020.

As of 22 March 2020, there have only been two confirmed cases of Coronavirus Covid-19 in UAE schools, this resulting from the exceptionally fast action of the UAE government, KHDA and ADEK to close schools and contain the virus. As schools remain closed, this figure is not expected to rise.

The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention reports that:

“There have been very few reports of the clinical outcomes for children with COVID-19 to date. Limited reports from China suggest that children with confirmed COVID-19 may present with mild symptoms and though severe complications (acute respiratory distress syndrome, septic shock) have been reported, they appear to be uncommon. However, as with other respiratory illnesses, certain populations of children may be at increased risk of severe infection, such as children with underlying health conditions.

Limited reports of children with COVID-19 in China have described cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Gastrointestinal symptoms (vomiting and diarrhoea) have been reported in at least one child with COVID-19.”

Positively, the World Heath Organisation states:

“We are [only] eight weeks into this Coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak: yet we have identified the virus, we have the genetic sequence, PCR & serological assay in use. This wealth of knowledge is unprecedented for a new disease.”

Currently there is no cure.

  • More on the UAE Government decision to close every school in the UAE to protect children can be found here.
  • More on the UAE government decision to close all nursery schools can be found here.
  • More on the UAE Government decision to ban school events can be found here.
  • More on the first confirmed case of Coronavirus Covid 19 in a UAE school at the Indian High School, Senior Campus can be found here.

The single major action parents and students can take to protect themselves is to wash their hands. Medical specialist face masks are not advised for adults and are illegal for use by children because they restrict airflow and could result in respiratory failure if used over a long period. Paracetamol should be used in the case of suspected infection. Ibuprofen should not be used.

A dedicated hotline has been set up to advise worried schools and parents on 06-7017000 and email at for issues that arise during the closure of schools and universities and the Coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak.

Over 620 school buildings have been completely sterilised to date, in addition to 6,000 school buses.

More than 168,000 students have been enrolled in a pilot Distance Learning programme in Abu Dhabi

To report suspected cases of Coronavirus Covid-19, parents are asked to call:

  • The Dubai Health Authority: 800 342
  • The Ministry of Health and Prevention: 800 11111.
  • The Department of Health Estijaba service: 800 1717

For parents in Abu Dhabi facing a crisis in looking after their children during the closure of nursery schools an emergency hotline is available on: +971 58 5886570 or the toll-free number 80051115.

For parents in Dubai, the KHDA is providing comprehensive support for parents here.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has requested those holding valid UAE visas, and now locked out of the UAE, must do the following:

“Those who are now staying in their countries of origin have to contact the UAE diplomatic missions in their respective nations for all necessary support and to streamline their return back to the UAE.”

“Those who are currently outside the UAE for business considerations have to contact their employers here as well as Emirati diplomatic missions in their host countries for all necessary support to facilitate their return back to the UAE.”

“Those who are now on vacation have to contact UAE diplomatic missions in their respective host countries for all necessary support to facilitate their return back to the UAE.”

“The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) has urged the families and kins of those affected by the decision to get in touch with the ICA via the following contact numbers to get updated on all the measures they have to pursue: Fax: 025543883, Mobile: 0501066099, Landline 02 3128867- 02 3128865, Email:”

More on the real story of Coronavirus Covid 19 direct from Schools can be found on

This is a rapidly developing story. Decisions are subject to change. We will publish more information for parents live as we receive it.

If you have a ground-breaking story in UAE education, please mail the News Desk 24/7 at 

© 2020. All rights reserved.


About The Author
Jon Westley
Jon Westley is the Editor of and UK. You can email him at jonathanwestley [at]

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