Abu Dhabi schools set for full return of pupils on Monday as Dubai eases restrictions

Schools in Dubai can resume PE lessons and extracurricular activities

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All year groups will resume in-person learning at Abu Dhabi schools on Monday, while further Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted in Dubai.

Only pupils whose parents opt for them to continue distance learning will remain off campus for the rest of the first term of the academic year.

The move comes after all schools in the capital reverted to online education at the start of January as a precautionary measure, amid a surge in Covid-19 infections.

On Friday, Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority – which administers private education in the emirate – announced that schools there could resume extracurricular activities from Monday.

They had been suspended since the start of term.

“Thanks to the support and co-operation of parents, educators and [pupils], PE lessons, gatherings, trips and extracurricular activities can resume from Jan 31,” the authority said.

“Canteens and eating areas can reopen. This applies to all private schools, early childhood centres and universities in Dubai.”

Earlier this month, authorities announced a phased return of pupils at all government-run schools nationwide and private schools in Abu Dhabi would take place on January 24 and 31.

No substitute for in-person learning

Speaking before all pupils return to school on Monday, Helen Wilkinson, head teacher at Brighton College Abu Dhabi, said it has been a long time coming.

“We are looking forward to a full return on Monday. The beginning and end of day will be staggered, carefully supervised and controlled,” she said.

“We are delighted that our full Brighton community can come back together again.

“Distance learning has come on in leaps and bounds since the start of the pandemic, but there is no substitute for the buzz that is felt when we are all in the building together.

“That is what schools are made for.”

To prepare for the full return of all year groups on Monday, Ms Wilkinson said the school will be checking that all PCR test results fall within the 96-hour remit.

They will also scan pupils and staff with thermal equipment to take their temperature on arrival.

Michael Wilson, Principal at Cranleigh Abu Dhabi said the return of its prep and senior pupils next week is a highlight.

“As with the junior part of the school, our team is focused on ensuring the campus is well prepared as a safe learning environment on all levels,” he said.

“The premises has been deep cleaned and our strict staggered entry and exit policies and one way systems ensure no bubble crossing.

“The Cranleigh campus is spacious enough to accommodate all pupils on site with stipulated distancing in place and children learn better when they learn together.”

Earlier this week, a large number of pupils in government and private schools in Abu Dhabi returned to the classroom for the first time since the start of the new term.

Over the past few weeks, as schools across the country prepared to reopen to pupils in phases, PCR test centres have recorded high volumes of weekend visits, as parents rushed to have their children tested.

Many schools in the UAE require a negative PCR result within 96 hours before pupils are permitted to return.

A customer service agent with test provider Rizek said on Friday the company had seen a small surge in bookings for home PCR tests for Friday evening and Saturday.

Many of the bookings were for multiple people in the same household.

He said this trend has been recorded since the start of January.

 

News Source : The National