Free PCR tests for public school pupils and staff in UAE before return to classrooms

Mobile testing centres have been established at 226 schools

DUBAI, UAE. August 31, 2014 - Students return for the first day of school at New Delhi Private School in Dubai, August 31, 2014. (Photos by: Sarah Dea/The National, Story by: STANDALONE, NEWS)
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Free Covid-19 tests will be offered to public school pupils and staff in the UAE before the start of the academic year on Monday.

Mobile testing centres have been established at 226 public schools across the country. Only pupils aged 12 and over need to be tested.

Screening will be available until 10pm from Thursday until Sunday, said public schools regulator Emirates Schools Establishment.

A full list of the testing venues was shared by ESE on Twitter.

"Lists of the names, locations, and working hours of all centres were posted online to help parents find the nearest to their residence," said Lubna Al Shamsi, acting executive director for schools.

Thirty-seven centres were set up in schools in Abu Dhabi, including Al Ain and Al Dhafra, while 837 medical centres in Abu Dhabi city will also provide tests for free.

Another 189 centres will provide free tests in Dubai and the northern Emirates.

Teams of health professionals will be on hand during working hours to assist in case of over-crowding.

School maintenance

Maintenance work is still ongoing in 18 schools out of 564 public schools across the UAE, of which five are in Abu Dhabi and 13 in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.

These are expected to be ready to welcome pupils on the first day of school.

Some pupils at a Sharjah school that was damaged because of recent flooding have been reassigned to a number of nearby private schools, while others will be allowed to do online classes until maintenance work is finished.

What are the UAE's back-to-school Covid-19 rules?

Authorities set out back-to-school rules at a special coronavirus briefing on Tuesday.

Pupils aged 12 and over, teaching and administrative staff, and service providers at government schools must obtain a negative PCR test result no more than 96 hours before the start of the new school year, according to officials.

However, periodic tests will not be required as the UAE adopted a symptom-only strategy last term.

Private school regulators in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have not announced their guidelines for the coming school year.

Under the current rules, private school pupils in Dubai will not be asked to take PCR tests before returning to the classroom if they have travelled outside the country.

The Knowledge and Development Authority’s last updated guidelines state there are no testing requirements.

However, caution is advised when travelling abroad, and any child showing Covid-19 symptoms should stay at home and take a PCR test.

PCR tests for pupils in Abu Dhabi — in pictures

Updated: August 24, 2022, 1:08 PM