Abu Dhabi students celebrate as parents lament school closure

Following heavy downpour on Tuesday, areas of the capital were reportedly hit with hail in the early morning, with more rain expected throughout the day.

ABU DHABI // Students celebrated the closure of public and private schools today in anticipation of more rain and thunderstorms — but parents were less happy.

Following heavy downpours on Tuesday, areas of the capital were reportedly hit with hail early on Wednesday morning, while more rain is expected throughout the day.

Abu Dhabi Education Council responded by closing all schools for the day, citing safety concerns “in anticipation of the effects of the weather forecast”, it said on Twitter.

Faisal Awan, who has two sons attending British International School and a third attending Reach British School, said he trusted Adec had made the right decision to cancel classes but also lamented the lost time for studying.

“It’s an inconvenience, the education is very expensive,” he said. “I’m paying for these kids and every day, it’s a waste of money and their time if they aren’t going to school.”

As he was preparing for a day at the office, his children would have to play at home.

“They won’t do much, just watch cartoons and play with the iPod,” he said. “After a while, their mother will get them to do some homework.”

One school in Khalifa City, GEMS American Academy, suffered damage to its roof as a result of the weather.

Jackie Kenney, a teacher at another school in the capital, said she’d heard some school buildings suffered from “water was seeping in through all of the windows.” She believed some schools had not been built to handle heavy rain.

“The buildings here are built too quickly and too poorly to be of any use during any type of weather, besides sunny and hot.”

Resident Deborah Cornelsen said her three children, who are 7, 9, and 11 years old, spent Wednesday morning sleeping in, followed by a late breakfast and a little playtime.

“If the streets get flooded, I won’t want to go too far as I’d rather not be in the streets,” said Mr Cornelsen.

Instead she said her children, who all attend German International School, will spend the day reading and “having some quality time with the family.”

Raha International School, also in Khalifa City, posted on its Facebook page that it was hit with flooding and power issues.

Emirati mother Amal Al Maamari said she was happy to keep her three children, aged 5, 8, 11, at home and away from British International School, which she said experienced some flooding.

She said she approved of Adec’s decision to close schools, but said the short notice of the announcement caused some inconvenience.

In Dubai, 10 schools confirmed to the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) they will be closing early today due to the weather.

They are; Oasis School; Dubai English Speaking School (Oud Metha); Dubai English Speaking School (DIAC); Al Salam Private School; both branches of Jebel Ali Primary school; Emirates International School; Star International School in Mirdif; Star International School in Al Twar; GEMS Wellington International School in Al Sufouh and GEMS Metropole in Motor City.