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No Regular Testing for Students in Dubai Schools. No Distance Learning from 3rd October!
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No Regular Testing for Students in Dubai Schools. No Distance Learning from 3rd October!

by David WestleyAugust 23, 2021

Dubai’s private schools must end all distance learning by October 3, after which all pupils MUST return to classrooms, according to a notice from Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management.

The government set out a gradual return from the first day of term on August 29, in which children can return to classrooms or learn from home. Five weeks into the term, in-person classes will be obligatory for all, Dubai Government Media Office said.

Separately, the KHDA has stated that no pupils are required to be vaccinated to return to school, and no regular testing is mandatory. “Eligible school staff who do not wish to have the vaccine must submit a negative PCR test each week,” it added.

“Vaccination is not mandatory, and qualified school personnel who do not wish to be vaccinated must show a negative PCR smear result every week. Students are not required to submit a negative PCR swab result.”

Provided health and safety protocols are in place, the following activities may also resume:

  • Swimming and sports lessons
  • School trips, excursions and camps
  • After-hours extra-curricular activities
  • Performances, assemblies and other events at school or at an external venue

“We continue to live in uncertain times, and the relaxation in restrictions is a privilege,” KHDA said. “To continue to enjoy these freedoms throughout the academic years it is crucial that students, parents and school staff fully comply with the protocols at all times.”

 

SCHOOL REACTION

“GEMS Education has always put the health, safety and wellbeing of our students as our top priority and we have prepared accordingly to ensure that all our schools strictly follow national guidelines. We warmly welcome KHDA’s latest guidance which is in line with the way our national leadership has so effectively handled the pandemic. Our parents’ reaction to the KHDA’s announcement has already been overwhelmingly positive too. We are so excited to welcome our 120,000+ students back for face-to-face learning during the new academic term starting on Sunday following our record-breaking academic results over the past year. These were a great reflection of the resilience our teachers, students and parents have shown.” Elmarie Venter, Chief Operations Officer at GEMS Education

A welcomed move from the KHDA that demonstrates a very measured approach in the stepping stones needed to return to ‘normality’. It is evident that the KHDA have worked with schools and applied their knowledge of how schools operate effectively. It is really powerful to see that the adapted protocols, have most importantly maintained the safe return for our students, whilst enabling schools to progress forward with outstanding opportunities for wellbeing and learning. With the children sitting at the core of these protocols I am sure that there will now be an increased level of excitement as they prepare for their return to school after the summer break. Ian Wallace, Horizon English School

“Literally delighted that we can offer something more for the students and let their talents shine in sports and performing arts.” Zara Harrington, Safa British School

“The UAE’s careful management of the pandemic has enabled education to progress positively throughout. Now, the easing of restrictions is a clear sign of living with and, importantly, managing the pandemic. These latest measures are not only a progressive step in pandemic management but, most importantly, signal the dawn of a more positive, inclusive and rich educational experience for pupils and families that has been denied to many as a result of COVID 19.” David Flint, South View

“Delighted with these updates to the safe return policy from the KHDA for the new academic year. It shows that with the #InThisTogetherDubai attitude we have successfully turned a corner with protocols and can look forward to the return of many aspects of school life that were deeply missed for the past year and a half.” Rachael Wilding, Smart Vision School

“All at GEMS FirstPoint School are very happy with the new KHDA guidelines that were issued last night. They will enable us to create opportunities for students to interact and collaborate more when at school. The re-introduction of ECAs, swimming, trips and visits is also a huge positive that will enrich and enhance the curriculum. Our plans will be reviewed and safety procedures will be implemented to ensure that our families are kept completely safe and have this broadened experience as soon as they return to us, right from day one.” Matt Tompkins, GEMS First Point School, Dubai.

“I am delighted with the latest KHDA protocols and can’t wait to welcome all the students back into school. TSPS will invite all their students back into school on Sunday 12 September.” Roger Hancock, The Sheffield Private School

“I am delighted with the new protocols that have sensible balance of safety and flexibility to allow critical human to human education. I feel fortunate to be part of the next chapter and can’t wait to welcome pupils back to Brighton College on Sunday!” Simon Crane, Brighton College Dubai

“We were delighted to receive the updates from the regulators on the changes to school reopening for this academic year. After a year of necessary restrictions it’s great news that activities such as swimming, school productions, trips and visits can resume, all of which are so integral to the whole school experience. Cases of Covid amongst students at Hartland by comparison to national statistics have remained incredibly low over the last 18 months and the decision not to have regular PCR testing for students is in my view a sensible one at this time. Working with staff, students and parents, we will continue to reinforce the safety protocols which will ensure that all young people are in school in the safety of the environments that our schools all work so hard to provide.” Fiona Cottam, Hartland International

“I am sure that the whole of the Dubai Education Community have welcomed and are supportive of the new KHDA guidelines. They provide a clear and comprehensive roadmap for a sensible and safe return to schools for students. The guidelines will greatly help a return to near normality while providing a great balance of sensible health and safety regulations. We are delighted that all students will be returning to on-campus learning by early October. We particularly welcome a return to ‘play based learning’ for our Early Years students and for our older ones the opportunity to re-engage with their passions, hobbies and interests through our schools’ many and varied ECAs; activities that they have sorely missed out on during periods of isolation and quarantine. We also are delighted that we will be able to invite fully vaccinated parents onto our campuses to share in their children’s education experience and engage with their teachers. We also welcome the news that students will be allowed to participate in field trips…” Alan Williamson, CEO Taaleem.

 

KHDA FAQ

Will any of the schools continue to provide their educational services remotely?
All private schools in Dubai will return to the face-to-face learning system on October 3. Class groups/classes and study stages can move to the distance learning system temporarily in the event that confirmed cases of Covid-19 virus appear, according to the decision of the supervisory committee. physical distancing

Do schools still have to adhere to a physical distance of 1.5 meters?
Schools should take appropriate measures to ensure that a safe distance between students and school staff is maintained as much as possible; We recommend keeping a safety distance of 1 metre.

Will masks be mandatory in the new school year?
Yes; Continuing to wear masks is mandatory for students aged 6 years and over, for school staff, and for everyone who visits the school.

Will schools be allowed to resume sports and swimming lessons?
Yes, schools can resume sports and swimming lessons; The locker rooms and sports areas will be sterilized after each group of students is used.

What types of activities will be allowed to resume at school?
Schools can resume group activities such as morning assembly, performances, rehearsals and events, in line with the directives of the Dubai Health Authority and the Dubai Sports Council.

Are schools allowed to hold events outside the school?
Yes, schools can hold events outdoors; And then the health and safety procedures adopted in these places must be adhered to.

Will school buses be allowed to be used at their full capacity?
Yes, schools can use buses at their full capacity, provided that approved health and safety procedures are adhered to, especially sterilization and ventilation.

How do I make sure that my son/daughter is safe at school?
Schools will continue to adhere to the comprehensive health and safety measures approved by the Government of Dubai. Similar to last year, this directive will include measures around sterilisation, teaching and learning materials, and external visitors to the school. You can see the full version of the procedures for health and safety are.


PROTOCOLS

The following protocols have been put together by Dubai’s education regulator for schools. It should help parents understand how schools will be keeping children safe, and also to better understand restrictions they and their children may face.

KHDA-Back-to-School-Protocols-2021-En
About The Author
David Westley
David is the co-founder and GM of Which Media, the owner of WhichSchoolAdvisor.com and SchoolsCompared.com

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