Private schools in Abu Dhabi no longer require close contacts of Covid-19 cases to quarantine — following Dubai's decision to drop the requirement.
The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge confirmed to The National that quarantine for close contacts is no longer necessary, however teachers and employees who know they have been exposed to the virus must still take PCR tests for five consecutive days, in line with the latest government announcement.
Private schools in Dubai became the first to confirm they were cancelling quarantine for close contacts earlier this week, along with masks outside, which were also scrapped nationwide.
And on Thursday, private schools in Abu Dhabi wrote to parents to say close contacts of Covid cases no longer had to move to remote learning or isolate, as they had previously.
A letter sent to parents of children at a private school in the capital, seen by The National, explained pupils can continue to attend as long as they have no symptoms.
They must however take a test on day 1 and day 4. Parents will be asked to share a screenshot from Al Hosn App of the results, said the letter.
Classes will move to distance learning for seven days if there are three or more Covid cases, as it is currently. And pupils with Covid will still be required to isolate for 10 days.
In Dubai, pupils with Covid must quarantine for 10 days. Their close contacts are identified by the school and informed, but they can physically attend school if they do not have symptoms.
Close contacts who show Covid symptoms can return only once they are symptom-free — even if their PCR test is negative.
Face masks are now optional in outside areas of school grounds in Dubai private schools.
But they remain mandatory inside for staff and children over the age of 6, the authority said.
No change has yet been made to the use of face masks outside in private schools in Abu Dhabi.
Under current rules, face masks are mandatory both inside for all schools, and outside for all institutions except those with Blue Schools status in Abu Dhabi.
The Covid-19 safety scheme, introduced in November, enforces a colour-coded tier system that allows schools with the highest vaccination rates to drop some restrictions.
There are four tiers: orange, yellow, green and blue.
Schools advance through the tiers, from orange (less than 50 per cent of school population vaccinated), to yellow (50-64 per cent), then green (65-84 per cent), and finally blue (85 per cent and above) as vaccination rates increase.
Aside from increased leniency in closures due to Covid cases, the most significant benefit of being a Blue School is the removal of masks outdoors.