Abu Dhabi schools switch to distance learning for two weeks in January

Move aims to limit spread of Covid-19 and maintain low infection rates in the emirate

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Latest: Dubai schools to resume in-person learning on January 3

Abu Dhabi's public and private schools will switch to distance learning during the first two weeks of the second term from January 3.

The emirate's Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee on Tuesday said the decision applied to pupils at public and private schools as well as students at training institutes, colleges and universities.

During the two-week period, testing campaigns will be ramped up for staff and the situation will be monitored in preparation for the return to physical classes, authorities said.

The decision was made as a “precautionary measure to limit the spread of Covid-19 and maintain low infection rates in the emirate".

Dubai's private schools, however, are to remain open. The Knowledge and Human Development Authority, Dubai's private schools regulator, said in-person classes would continue but extra-curricular activities, school trips and canteens would be closed for the two-week period.

Abu Dhabi schools switch to online learning for two weeks in January

Abu Dhabi schools switch to online learning for two weeks in January

It follows the announcement at Tuesday's weekly UAE Covid-19 briefing that government schools across the country would switch to online learning.

The National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority said the new rules could be changed depending on local considerations, while schools would contact parents directly regarding the situation.

The green pass system is to be used for parents entering schools, and pupils will be required to provide negative PCR tests taken within 96 hours when classes resume.

Authorities added that the world is witnessing a “significant increase” in the number of infections due to the Omicron variant.

The briefing also heard fresh calls for people to take the Covid-19 vaccine and booster, and to continue to follow rules such as social distancing and wearing masks.

It also outlined details about the UAE's approval of the new Sinopharm vaccine to be used as booster.

Dr Noura Al Ghaithi, spokeswoman for the health sector, said the country is well prepared to deal with the recent increase in cases.

"The UAE is addressing this increase in cases with advanced medical preventive systems," she said.

"All national medical teams are fully prepared for all possible scenarios, by raising the community’s awareness, implementing preventive measures, and regularly testing and providing vaccines."

The school decision, meanwhile, came on the same day Abu Dhabi updated its border controls.

Authorities announced that vaccinated people coming into Abu Dhabi from Thursday must show Al Hosn green pass, while those who have not been vaccinated must show a negative PCR test “received within 96 hours".

The new rules apply in conjunction with the use of EDE scanners that aim to limit the spread of Covid-19 and protect public health.

The scanners were introduced on December 19 to identify those who may have Covid-19.

The UAE recorded 1,846 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of infections to 754,911, with a record 431,482 PCR tests conducted.

Fewer than 50 daily cases were recorded on average in early December and in response to the rise, authorities have stepped up testing and introduced new rules to protect public health.

Abu Dhabi has limited social events such as wedding ceremonies, funerals and family gatherings to 60 per cent capacity.

Authorities previously urged people to celebrate the holiday seasons and new year events with caution and continue social distance and wear masks.

Meanwhile, Emirates has suspended the entry of travellers from several African destination until further notice.

The airline said passengers on direct and transit flights from Angola and Guinea will not be permitted to travel to Dubai from December 28.

Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Ethiopia are also on this list.

Outbound passenger operations from Dubai to these destinations remain unaffected.

Updated: December 29, 2021, 8:15 AM