Online learning remains an option for Sharjah schools as Covid-19 safety measure

The emirate’s private education regulator said schools can continue to operate a blended model of in-person and online study

Thousands of Sharjah pupils have switched to remote learning this week as the emirate’s private education regulator confirmed online teaching will remain an option for schools until further notice.

Schools in the emirate have fully or partially moved online this year amid a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in the UAE.

Al Shola Schools Group, which includes Rosary Private School, Pace British School and Sharjah American International School, has resumed distance learning after offering a hybrid model of in-person and online teaching for the first two weeks of term.

Ibrahim Barakeh, director of the group, said more than 8,000 pupils will take part in online lessons this week in line with efforts to protect the health of staff and pupils.

“The return to direct learning will happen after consulting with Sharjah Private Education Authority,” he said.

“We are strictly observing all precautionary measures to prevent infections among pupils or staff members.”

Sharjah’s school week now runs from Monday to Thursday, in line with the emirate’s new three-day weekend.

Juman Abu Shamsia, 37, from Jordan, has experienced the challenges of education during the pandemic as both a parent and a school employee herself.

“My husband tested positive for the virus last week, so I informed the school where I work and also alerted my children’s school,” she said.

Her children in grades one and four at Rosary Private School were moved to remote learning. It continued to provide in-class lessons before confirming the shift online.

American International School in the emirate has also reverted to distance learning until the end of this week, having operated a blend learning system earlier this term.

“This extension is a precautionary measure. It will also provide an opportunity for our students and staff who have been diagnosed as positive cases of Covid-19 to recover well,” an email from the school stated.

Sharjah Private Education Authority said a combination of direct and online education will continue to be an option for private schools until further notice.

“Inspection teams from the authority follow up on the schools’ compliance to precautionary measures and the guidelines that were issued by the authority,” Ali Al Hosani, director of Spea, said.

Updated: January 19, 2022, 1:30 PM