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The Real Story of Coronavirus Covid 19 Direct from Schools. Brett Girven, Arbor School, On the Record.

The Real Story of Coronavirus Covid 19 Direct from Schools. Brett Girven, Arbor School, On the Record.

by Jon WestleyApril 2, 2020

Background: The Real Story of Coronavirus Covid 19 Direct from Schools. We Speak with Brett Girven, Principal, the Arbor School in Dubai, On the Record.

There is so much information – and disinformation – in the press and social media that it is getting harder, and harder, for us all as parents to understand and distinguish truth from fiction.

We decided that the best way to cut through all this is to go to schools directly and get the real story on and from the front-line.

In this series of short videos, we talk to different schools to find out what is really happening, what is being done for children and parents – and the reality of what learning from home looks like.

Some of the questions we have asked include:

  • What are the challenges we are all going to face?
  • Are there benefits – can we find some positives in all this?
  • How are schools responding to your worries?
  • How does distance learning work in the best schools?
  • Will children be inspired by this kind of learning?
  • What do you as parents need to do?
  • Are schools really ready to completely change the way they teach children?

In this, our tenth exclusive video, speaks with Brett Girven, Principal of the Arbor School, on the record, to get the real story of Coronavirus Covid 19 – and why the push for more live teaching, in the face of the Covid-19 threat, is important in taking schools to the next level.

More on the Arbor School can be found here.

If you have questions for schools we can ask in our future videos please email the Editor directly at [email protected]



Backgrounder – Updated Key Facts Today at a Glance, What to Do if you Believe that You or Your Children are Infected or You are Locked Out of the UAE – and Why you Should Stay Home.

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

We have a lot to be positive about in the UAE.

The Guardian newspaper reports:

“Overall the UAE in the final week of March was testing at rate of just over 10,000 per day, The speed with which the UAE, a wealthy oil Gulf state, has moved to harness Chinese technology raises questions as to why some western countries have been unable to source testing kits and set up infrastructure with comparable speed.”

The Guardian newspaper rates the UAE as the best in the world for testing – this seen as the single most important means available to governments to safely move a country out of lockdown and save more lives.

More here.

As of 02 April 2020, the UAE has only 814 confirmed cases of Coronavirus Covid 19 and a total number of 8 deaths. At this stage of the curve, the UAE is tracking at a much lower rate than equivalent countries because of the swift action of the UAE government to lockdown the country. Beyond the school closure programme, key evidence of the UAE government’s commitment to flattening the curve can be found in the announcement on 31 March of the complete lockdown of Dubai’s Al Ras area. This will see residents not being able to leave their homes and no entrance to the area from other areas of the emirate with businesses closed and metro and road closures area-wide.

Coronavirus Covid-19 is invisible making protecting yourself difficult. The five actions parents and students can take to protect themselves and others is to:

  • (1) Wash your hands for a minimum of 25 seconds;
  • (2) Avoid physical or social proximity with others and maintain a minimum 2M distance at all times;
  • (3) Do not touch your face;
  • (4) Be kind;
  • (5) Stay home.

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

Banks welcome calls from parents who are struggling as a result of the UAE lockdown and are expected to respond compassionately.

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.

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, 02 April 2020, 939,131 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in 87 countries and territories, including 47,319 deaths.

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 cases is 11%.

Children can be infected but the risk is lower.

“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:

“[Even after just] eight weeks into this Coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak: yet we had 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.
  • More on the cancellation of A’ Levels and GCSEs here.
  • More on the cancellation of the International Baccalaureate IB examinations here.

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 [email protected] for issues that arise during the closure of schools and universities and the Coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak.

Symptoms of Coronavirus Covid-19 infection are:

  • (1) High temperature;
  • (2) Cough;
  • (3) Loss of taste and/or smell.

Some people show no symptoms but remain highly infectious and dangerous to others.

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: [email protected]

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

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

© 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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