Coronavirus: KHDA chief urges Dubai parents and pupils to focus on the positives ahead of reopenings

Director general of education authority says there must be a focus on the human side of reopening

Dubai, 28, August, 2016 : Childrens from JSS Private School get back home after the first day   in Dubai. ( Satish Kumar / The National )
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Section: Standalone *** Local Caption ***  SK-UAESchools-28082016-011.jpg

The head of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) has urged parents and pupils to focus on the positives ahead of schools reopening on Sunday.

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, KHDA director general, made his comments during the #AskDXBOfficial initiative, launched by Dubai Media Office, to address parents’ concerns and clarify the reopening procedures and protocols.

He emphasised the importance of “celebrating the human side of the schools reopening”, reported the news agency Wam.

“While we have the precautions in place and adhere to it, we have to understand it is going to be an exciting time,” he said.

"It is such an important day for all of us. When you are back to school, you are back to life.''

Dr Al Karam said that all schools had submitted detailed reopening readiness plans that outline safety measures, including social distancing, temperature checks, PE lessons, break times, and school start times.

"More than a month ago, the Dubai Government created a very clear protocol for schools and education,” he said.

“It is a very thorough protocol designed by specialists and it’s always been on the conservative side because we have over 300,000 kids going to school."

The KHDA will be monitoring all schools in Dubai in collaboration with key authorities to ensure they are continuing to follow precautionary measures to protect students and staff.

School staff members are required to do a PCR test prior to the reopening while parents will be required to teach their children good hygiene practices, behave responsibly and respectfully and work with teachers to ensure a safe environment for everyone.

"It makes it comfortable for everyone around them," said Dr Al Karam.

“The testing facilities will be based in seven schools in Dubai.”

He said keeping students safe is a shared responsibility between parents and schools.

"It will take all of us to come together to make sure that we are adhering to those standards because our safety and the safety of others is important,” he added.

Dr Al Karam said that distance learning as an option will stay, especially at the beginning and the choice of distance learning will not impact the fees.

“But we understand that many schools are putting together different packages to support parents who have been affected by the Covid-19 crisis,” he said.

He said that KHDA is working with federal authorities to decide protocol requirements regarding the reopening of nurseries and the timing of the announcement.

“People want to go back to work and they want their kids to be in their nurseries,” he said.

“We have teachers who want to be in the nurseries and teach in the school. As we go back to work, school and universities, the reopening of nurseries is very important to us.''