Sharjah private schools prepare for full return to in-person learning

Authorities hold meeting with head teachers of schools with less than 50 per cent attendance rate ahead of October 31 return to classrooms

Sharjah's private education regulator has met with head teachers of schools where fewer than half of pupils have been attending in-person lessons.

This comes as the emirate pushes ahead with a full return to classrooms by the end of the month.

Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA) announced the back-to-school plan earlier this month, following an assessment by the emirate's Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Committee.

Pupils with health conditions are exempt from the decision – which officials say accounts for about 1.5 per cent of the school population.

SPEA said 97,681 pupils out of 174,265 are currently studying at school.

Challenges surrounding the full return to classrooms were discussed during the meeting this week.

A number of solutions to ensure the process is implemented smoothly were highlighted, including the importance of providing SPEA and relevant authorities with accurate data about the health situation in schools.

Teachers and pupils above the age of 6 will need to wear face masks at all times during the school day.

The number of pupils allowed in a classroom has returned to the pre-pandemic figure.

Schools also need to achieve a 100 per cent vaccination rate among staff.

Buses will resume working at full capacity, and parents are urged to subscribe to SPEA’s online platform Your Children are Safe, to follow their children’s journey to and from schools.

The authority said its decision was supported by the four recovery indicators of attendance rates, positivity, vaccination and compliance.

It also comes following a significant decline in daily reported infection and a high vaccination rate in the UAE.

“We are determined on the full return to direct learning model after our follow up found private schools to be ready,” said Dr Muhadditha Al Hashimi, chairman of SPEA.

“SPEA inspection teams will intensify campaigns to ensure full compliance with preventive measures, to ensure the safety of all members of the educational community,” she said.

Updated: October 15th 2021, 1:18 PM