School closures: Dubai and Abu Dhabi schools forge separate pathways as Covid-19 cases rise
Dubai and Abu Dhabi continue to show different pathways through the Covid-19 pandemic, with the two emirates navigating their own way through a Ministry of Education requirement for schools to move to online, distance learning for the start of the new term. In Abu Dhabi, ADEK, its education regulator, has confirmed that all of its schools are to close. Schools in Dubai will remain open, but under increased restrictions.
Sharjah’s education regulator, SPEA, has also now confirmed that its schools will also continue with face to face learning in school, but with “the discontinuation of all classroom and extra curricular activities and school trips. Moreover, all children over the age of 12, and all staff, will require a PCR test taken within the last 96 hours to enter the school.
We are still waiting on the pathways chosen by other emirates, but suspect outside Dubai, and Sharjah, schools will follow Abu Dhabi and the MoE’s lead.
The move by the MoE has been triggered by the rapid spike in Covid cases across the country. Its requirement covers schools, universities and training centres.
The Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee stated:
“During these two weeks, ongoing testing campaigns will increase for education sector personnel and the situation will continue to be monitored to update protocols for the return to in-school learning”.
In Dubai, the schools regulator, the KHDA, shared the following statement via their official twitter account;
“Regular face-to-face education in Dubai private schools will continue in the 2nd semester while collective classroom & extracurricular activities will be discontinued. Canteens will close for the first 2 weeks of the semester & gatherings & school trips will be suspended”.
The Ministry of Education has indicated that when Abu Dhabi schools do resume, all students will need a negative PCR test in order to return to campus. Parents will need a green pass on their Al Hosn app to enter schools.
Confirmed Covid-19 case numbers have crossed the 1800 mark twice in the past three days.
Schools across the UAE are already working their way through new timetables as a result of the weekend change in the emirates to Saturday and Sunday, and half day Friday. Speaking on behalf of GEMS Education, the UAE’s largest education provider, Chief Operations Officer, Elmarie Venter noted the requirements, and indicated the school group would now begin on delivery:
“GEMS Education has noted this evening’s announcement from the Ministry of Education and ADEK regarding distance learning in Abu Dhabi schools for the first two weeks of the new academic semester from Monday January 3.
We have closely followed national leadership guidelines and advice since the outbreak of the pandemic.
The safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and wider school community is of paramount importance to us and we will continue to follow direction from the authorities to support this as required”.
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