More than two dozen schools in Dubai will switch to distance learning for the first few days of the new term owing to Covid-19 cases in the community.
Schools wrote to parents on Sunday evening advising them gates would remain shut because people had tested positive for Covid-19.
Several staff and pupils were also identified as close contacts of those with the virus.
Gems Education, which runs 28 schools in Dubai, said cases had been detected during extensive testing.
Twenty-six of its schools will resume remote learning for a minimum of two days, which could extend to five days, a spokesman said.
“Gems Education schools in Dubai are looking forward to welcoming back our students for the start of a new semester tomorrow,” said Elmarie Venter, chief operations officer.
“A number will revert to distance learning with the full support of the KHDA, due to rising numbers of positive Covid-19 test results and staff who are close contacts.
“We expect to return to full in-class learning in all our schools very shortly and will continue to strictly adhere to all national guidelines.”
In a letter to parents, the heads of primary and secondary sections at Gems Founders School said the decision to postpone in-person learning had not been taken lightly.
“As you will be aware, the cases of Covid-19 have been rapidly increasing worldwide over the past few weeks, which has led to a significant increase in the number of positive cases amongst our families as well as our staff community,” it read.
“It is important to note that, as a result, to limit the spread of Covid-19 and ensure the health and safety of our GFS community, we will revert to remote online learning for the first week of term 2. From Monday, January 3 until Friday January 7, 2022.”
Last week, Dubai’s education regulator, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, gave private schools in the city the green light to resume in-person classes for the new term.
It said it did not require pupils to show proof of a valid negative PCR test upon their return, however, and said this was at the discretion of the school.
Other schools that have chosen to delay the start of face-to-face teaching ahead of the new term include Kent College Dubai and Victory Heights Primary School.
In letters sent to parents, both schools said they would review the situation in a few days before deciding whether to resume normal operations.
As per KHDA guidelines, all school canteens will remain shut for the first two weeks of school.
Extracurricular activities, assemblies and trips will also remain suspended until further notice.