Back to School in the COVID Era

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Time to return to ordinary life in the Covid-19 era.

As the world keeps on wrestling with the vicious Covid, the UAE is consistent in its efforts to return to a life of normalcy where preventive measures are maintained without citizens giving up on living a normal life.

The most recent indication of the return to ordinary life is the decision by the Dubai Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management to resume private schools completely to in-class learning from October 3. The school year is set to start on 29 August 2021, with the current mixed model where in students are offered the option of online learning. However, one month after, schools will get back to full face to face learning, the committee noted.

The move is “a proactive step to accelerate Dubai’s return to normality” Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the committee said. It likewise mirrors the UAE’s powerful measures against the Virus including its successful campaign to vaccinate all citizens. Sheikh Mansoor further explained that all these efforts are done with hopes to reduce the social and financial effect of the pandemic on citizens.

To guarantee that the preventive measures taken as well as the campaigns are to be of full effect on protecting the society, all entities including teachers, parents, school managements as well students need to take full responsibility of implementing and following the issued guidelines.

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) has issued a set of guidelines and regulations to help in creating a risk-free learning environment for all parties involved. The guidelines and regulations include the expected rule of maintaining social distancing as well as wearing a face mask for all students older than the age of 6 as well as staff and visitors while also including regular sanitization of the classrooms and learning tools. Getting vaccinated is encouraged for everyone including students older than the age of 12 however it isn’t mandatory.

The staff working in schools that cannot be vaccinated for any reason need to conduct a weekly PCR test and present a negative result. As per the statistics presented by the supreme committee, around 96% of tutors have been vaccinated and more than 70% of the pupils between the ages 12-17 are vaccinated, which is deemed to be one of the highest rates of vaccination worldwide. The KHDA has also reported that now school transportation can run at full capacity while strictly adhering to all preventive measures and regulations to control any possible spread of Covid.

The academic year 2020/2021 was a very challenging year for all educational systems, especially working parents, to ensure the smooth educational experience being delivered to students. Students have missed out unfortunately on the in-class experience where important interactive skills are developed. Hence, the decision to resume education in class will not only alleviate the pressure from parents but will also aid in the development and growth of the students on the long run.