Some Dubai schools to resume in-person classes next week after period of online learning

The last week of online learning was a circuit-breaker period to curb the spread of the virus

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Some schools in Dubai plan to resume in-class teaching on Monday after switching to remote learning for the first week of the new term.

About 30 private schools in Dubai last week informed education authorities of their decision to return to distance learning because of positive Covid-19 cases among staff, pupils and the wider community.

However, with more staff and pupils now returning negative PCR results, some campuses will return to normal operations from next week.

We will return to in-person classes from January 10, unless there is any other communication from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority or any Covid-19 related reasons to go back online
Sheela Menon, principal for Ambassador School in Dubai

Sheela Menon, principal for Ambassador School in Dubai, said pupils will return to class next week.

“Yes, we will return to in-person classes from January 10, unless there is any other communication from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority or any Covid-19 related reasons to go back online,” she said.

“Ambassador School Dubai received special approval from the KHDA to switch to online classes [for the first week of term].

“This was taking into account positive and primary contact cases among a few pupils and as a result of the travelling history of many families over the winter break.’

On Friday, Sasha Crabb, principal at Victory Heights Primary School, said the plan was to return to in-person lesson for the second week of term.

The school, based in Sports City Dubai, went online this week after more than 20 staff tested positive for Covid-19.

Sheela Menon, principal at Ambassador School in Dubai.

In its latest communication to schools, the KHDA reiterated to principals that they can move a particular grade or whole school to distance learning for 48 hours, without prior permission, if a number of pupils or staff test positive for Covid-19 or are identified as close contacts.

Ms Menon said that makes it “more convenient for schools to take appropriate action immediately”, should such a requirement arise.

Earlier this week, Gems Education, which operates 28 schools in Dubai, announced it would start the new term with remote learning at 26 of its campuses.

On Friday, no decision had been made as to whether in-person classes would resume next week.

“Gems Education continues to work very closely with the authorities in the UAE to keep our school communities as safe as possible following the move to distance learning,” said Elmarie Venter, chief operations officer.

“We are continuously monitoring the situation and look forward very much to welcoming our pupils back into the classroom as soon as it is safe to do so.

“We are keeping our families up to date with all developments and thank them for their understanding and co-operation.”

Simon Jodrell, principal at Dubai British School Emirates Hills, said while overall Covid-19 case numbers remain low at the school, the number of pupils classed as close contacts had risen since the start of term.

Despite this, the school would continue in-person classes from Monday with the majority of staff and pupils.

“The ability to move to distance learning for 48 hours which, alongside the upcoming weekend, allows a four-day circuit breaker period, gives parents the time to take their children showing Covid-19 symptoms for a PCR test,” he said.

“We appreciate the support of the KHDA when it comes to the ability to be able to temporarily move to distance learning.

“This allows us to both reassure, evaluate and support the health, safety and well-being of our community.”

Updated: January 8th 2022, 4:11 AM