Head teachers welcome end of UAE mask rules: 'We were waiting for this day'

Principals say it will have a positive impact, especially on younger pupils who will be able to see their teachers' and peers' faces for the first time

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Head teachers have welcomed the lifting of face mask rules and said it will have a positive impact on children's development.

From Wednesday, schools nationwide will not require children or teachers to wear masks. The rules are part of a major overhaul of coronavirus rules.

Rebecca Coulter, principal at Dubai British School Jumeirah Park, said this was a day school principals had been waiting for.

“We are thrilled at the news that masks will no longer need to be worn in school,” said Ms Coulter.

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We are looking forward to making the most of seeing each and being able to read other’s facial expressions
Clare Turnbull, Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai

“It will be great to see people’s faces, smiles and reactions.

“For our younger pupils, those in years one and two, learning in masks is all they have known.

“It will be wonderful for them to see the faces of their teachers and their peers and to learn without the confines of a mask.”

Private school regulators in the Emirates said face masks are no longer needed indoors after the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority relaxed Covid-19 rules on Monday.

Abu Dhabi's Department of Education and Knowledge confirmed it would follow the new guidelines.

“Face masks are no longer mandatory for private schools, early childhood centres, universities and training institutes in Dubai. Smiles remain compulsory,” tweeted the emirate's private education regulator, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority.

According to the new rules, masks will only be required in places of worship, in hospitals and on public transport from Wednesday, September 28.

Clare Turnbull, principal at Royal Grammar School Guildford Dubai, said she was delighted and looked forward to confirmation from the KHDA.

“We are sure wearing of masks indoors will become optional and it will have a very positive impact on the social development of pupils,” Ms Turnbull said.

She also said the removal of masks would help cut down on anxiety levels in pupils.

“I think it’s a relief that we have got to that stage where the government feels this is the right next step for the population here,” said Ms Turnbull.

“We are looking forward to making the most of seeing each pupil and being able to read others’ facial expressions. That will enhance the learning of our pupils and their well-being.”

Ms Coulter said it was likely some pupils who had only attended school during the pandemic would feel anxious about coming to school without a mask.

“For pupils who remember life without masks, it will be great. You get so much from reading people’s expressions and it will be important for pupils to have that full connection again,” she said.

Updated: September 27, 2022, 4:52 AM
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