UAE Government to Close Every School in the UAE in Coronavirus Covid-19 Fight Back to Protect Children
Background – UAE Government to Close Every School in the UAE in Fight Back Against Coronavirus Covid-19 to Protect Children
In a significant escalation of the UAE government’s fight back against Coronavirus Covid-19, the UAE Ministry of Education has announced that every school in the UAE, public and private, will close on Sunday 8th March.
The move follows the rapid rise of people infected with the virus to 27 with six new cases confirmed in the UAE. The closure programme will also apply to universities across the UAE. The KHDA, Dubai’s Schools Inspectorate, confirmed today that:
“If students’ safety is deemed to be at risk, we will protect it every way we can.”
Schools will close for a minimum period of one month.
Parents must ensure that children are learning at home for the two school weeks now beginning on the 22nd March 2020.
The preceding two weeks from 8th March are to be treated as the Spring Break holiday. Parents are advised to begin setting up now, new places in their homes for their children to study with Internet access, phones and laptops.
The order to close schools has been issued by the UAE government as part of:
“preventive and precautionary measures to ensure the safety of students” [and is part of a package of] “measures taken at the national level, aimed at reducing the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19).”
These measures have
- already included the blanket closure of Nursery Schools across the UAE. More on this here.
- included a ban on all internal and external school events where children are together in large groups. More on this here.
In the next four days, schools are required to urgently establish Distance Learning programmes so that children can continue to learn away from school. The aim is to minimise the impact of school closures on children. Parents will be contacted by schools over the next two days detailing plans to enable pupils to continue studying whilst at home.
SchoolsCompared.com has spoken to schools and we understand that most have already begun preparing Distance Learning programmes for students in readiness for the already foreseen likely increase in Coronavirus Covid-9 cases across the emirates.
During the closures every school and university will be sterilised.
The UAE Ministry of Education states:
“The spring break for school students, which was scheduled to start on March 29 until April 12, will now begin next Sunday.
A distance learning initiative will be launched in the last two weeks of the vacation to ensure the continuity of the educational process at home and maintain the number of school days students are learning.”
Mark Ford, Principal, The English College Dubai told SchoolsCompared.com:
‘We fully support and appreciate all efforts from local authorities to keep our school environment and the community safe and healthy. We appreciate the clear and concise guidance that we are continuously receiving and will ensure that all necessary measures are in place.
Plans are in place to adapt to a virtual school day and teaching staff are prepared to deliver online learning to students through Google Classroom.
We will also provide tutorials for our parents so they can see what is being taught in the virtual classroom, and monitor their children’s progress.
We fully understand and sympathise with our parents and staff during this highly unusual situation and will ensure that the transition and continuity of learning is given paramount importance. We will also provide all our parents with tips on how to keep their children engaged during this time and maintain effective and transparent communication.”
Fiona Cottam, Principal, Hartland International School, responded:
“The decision to close all schools is obviously one that we would have all rather avoided.
However, we now need to find a positive way forward in light of last night’s announcement.
I am sure that authorities have not taken this decision lightly and we must have faith that the best interests of the UAE community are at the heart of all steps at this time.
Over the last week at Hartland we have gone from zero to 100 in our preparedness to deliver online and virtual content. In some ways, this crisis has forced us to innovate as a school. We are responding to the developing situation and have accelerated our learning. We are not quite there yet and would have loved a little extra time to prepare – but we hope to be fully functional in the virtual world and in a position to support parents and students from home in the next few days. We have learned a lot from the experiences of colleagues in China, Hong Kong and Singapore and are grateful for an amazing on-line community of global practitioners who are all supporting each other in these unique times.”
Simon Crane, Head Master, Brighton College Dubai, said:
“The safety, welfare and health of our pupils, parents and teachers is of the highest importance. We support the pro-active and foward-thinking approach.
The College has a robust plan for the use of on-line teaching and learning platforms, drawing on the experience of schools in China and Japan where schools have been closed for some time. We are now confident that we have an appropriate (and exciting) educational platform that will enable us to offer a meaningful programme of learning, marking and feedback. Seasaw, Edmodo and Zoom will be used.
As you will expect, there are likely to be continued tweaks and changes to our approach during the coming weeks, and I am very grateful indeed for the support, understanding and help from parents in managing whatever these next few weeks and months hold.”
Lizzie Robinson, Principal, Jebel Ali School, confirmed:
“While the news broke suddenly last night, we at Jebel Ali School have been planning for such a scenario and thus are ready to support our students, staff and parents during this time. Our focus through our prepared elearning program is to continue to provide the standard of educational excellence that Jebel Ali students and parents have come to expect.”
GEMS Education tweeted:
“In line with the government-mandated closure of all schools in the UAE, all GEMS schools will be closed starting Sunday as a precautionary measure to mitigate the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
Your Principal will update you further about what measures are being taken by your school. We will continue to update you as further information becomes available. Rest assured, GEMS Education is doing everything it can to ensure minimal disruption to your child’s education.”
The move follows an outpouring of calls from parents on social media for the UAE government to close schools following their decision to close nursery schools to protect the youngest children.
A dedicated hotline has been set up to advise schools and parents on 06-7017000 and email at Sd@moe.gov.ae for issues that arise during the closure of schools and universities.
This is a rapidly developing story and we will publish updates live as we receive them.
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