UAE Government Announces Immediate Blanket Closure of All Nursery Schools in Major Push to Protect Young Children from Coronovirus Covid-19
Background – UAE Government Announces Blanket Closure of All School Nurseries with a license from the Ministry of Education as Part of Major Interventions to Protect Children
The UAE Government has ratcheted up its containment strategy to protect the most vulnerable in society from the impacts of Coronovirus Covid-19 by closing all MOE licensed Nursery schools across every emirate with immediate effect. The ban on children attending school covers all MOE Nurseries.
As it stands, some Early Learning Centres in Dubai are informing us that they have been excluded by the KHDA from the closure plans. It should be noted that as Early Learning Centres are not nurseries, parents should currently assume that they remain open.
Farheen Effandi, Director Idea Early Learning Center told us:
“As per KHDA directive we will remain open.
However every precaution will be taken as the children and their health is paramount to us.We are always here for our parents and community and will ensure all are safe whilst in our care.”
Nurseries within schools will also close if they are licensed by the Ministry of Education. This includes Kent College Nursery (whose nursery was due to open on 1st march 2020), Jumeirah International Nurseries (JINS) Regent and JINS Sunmarke. There are a limited number of nursery schools licensed by the KHDA, and for these we recommend that parents contact their schools for clarification.
We have now received direct confirmation from Kings’ Nursery Nad Al Sheba that it will be closing from Sunday March 1st 2020 with other nursery schools across the UAE.
Smart Star and Mastermindz, as they are Early Learning Centres and not nurseries, it has now been confirmed will open.
The decision follows the KHDA announcement yesterday banning all internal and external school, university and Nursery events, activities, trips and inter-school competitions.
The blanket closure of nursery schools on this scale across multiple countries is the largest of its kind to have taken place since Coronovirus Covid-19 was discovered in China. In announcing the move, the UAE government is significantly ratcheting up its containment strategy to protect the people of Dubai.
The number of people infected with COVID-19 in the UAE currently stands at twenty one as of 29th February 2020 of which five are believed to have made a full recovery. Ongoing testing of hundreds of individuals continues.
ADEK has today written to all parents of children in nursery schools advising them:
As part of the precautionary and preventive measures taken to reduce the possibility of transmission of the COVID 19 virus infections (Novel Coronavirus), we would like to inform you that ADEK has instructed all nurseries in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to suspend operations temporarily, starting Sunday March 1, 2020, until further notice.
You may contact the nursery for more details.
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.”
As of 14:00, 29th February 2020, the closure programme does not currently effect primary schools, secondary schools or universities.
SchoolsCompared.com has been inundated with praise from parents for the UAE government, KHDA and ADEC for “protecting our children” and “not waiting until it is too late.” Many parents have spoken of the challenges they will now face in finding alternative arrangements for the care of their children, but it is expected that employers will respond positively to employees whilst alternative plans are made.
Schools across the UAE are already responding swiftly to new moves announced yesterday on 28 February 2020 to ban all internal and external school events.
Mark Ford, Principal, The English College Dubai informed SchoolsCompared.com:
‘We fully support and appreciate all the efforts of the local authorities to keep our school environment and the community safe and healthy.
We appreciate the swift and clear guidance that we are continuously receiving.
The English College will ensure that all guidance is being followed and all the necessary measures put in place with immediate effect.”
Responses from UAE Nursery Schools to Closures
Whilst the response from parents has been overwhelmingly positive, many nursery schools have spoken with us of their frustration. The tension governments face between protecting their public, on the one hand, and economics, on the other, is being grappled with by governments world wide. The pressure from the public, generally, is for governments to be seen to be acting and protecting them. At the same time, the highest levels of public protection will inevitably have knock on impacts on business, the wider economy and logistics.
The Principal of a major nursery in Dubai, who asked to remain nameless, expressed frustration:
“We disagree with the measures put in place. Why have only nurseries been singled out and not schools accepting same age of children?”
Síog Moore RGN, Founding Partner, Little Land Nursery told us she had written to parents and creditably will support them with activities to continue their child’s learning:
“At the moment my biggest concern is that your children do not experience any fear regarding some virus that might kill them – this is the equivalent of their believing that there is a monster under their bed. If they become worried then this could create a life long anxiety.
Our children are very sensitive to our moods so if you are feeling nervous yourself, please avoid sharing information with your child until you are feeling calm.
So while we do not want to close the nursery, we should make the most of it.
Let your children feel it as a holiday and we will share lots of our activities and ideas with you to help make the time productive.
Of course practice excellent personal hygiene. Avoid touching your face except after washing hands. Make it fun to wash hands when you come home from somewhere. These habits will also last a lifetime and will save much in healthcare in the future.”
A Director from a leading Sharjah-based nursery, who asked to remain anonymous, was less upbeat:
“I think that this is an Illogical move that will not make any difference to what is happening.
Children under the age of 6 are low risk. What’s the point of nursery children being excluded from going to nursery when their older siblings are attending schools with a far higher risk of exposure than that of the nursery child?
Schools have nurseries and take children aged 3 years and above – so why are the independent, private, small nurseries being penalised? It is quite beyond me.
Sorry …. but I’m not happy.
We had no notice at all to inform our parents to make alternative arrangements. I feel for the parents greatly on this one. No thought for them at all.”
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