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

From vaccination and PCR tests to masks and remote learning, here's what you need to know as the new academic year begins

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Hundreds of thousands of pupils across the UAE are beginning their new school year on Monday, and will be expected to follow the latest Covid-19 safety rules announced by the government last week.

The announcement by the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority will also affect teachers and staff members.

Here are the latest rules that parents and teachers need to know now first day of the new term has begun.

Who needs a PCR test to go back to school?

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

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

Do children have to wear a face mask at school?

Face masks are no longer required outdoors but are compulsory indoors.

Is remote learning an option?

The option to learn and work remotely is available for pupils and staff who are infected with Covid-19, as well as anyone with respiratory symptoms.

A PCR test will confirm whether these symptoms are caused by the coronavirus.

Can unvaccinated children attend school?

All pupils can attend government schools in person, including those have not been vaccinated for health reasons or are excluded from vaccination.

Anyone entering university campuses who is not vaccinated for health reasons or who is excluded from vaccination will need to show a green status on Al Hosn smartphone app.

Is social distancing still needed?

Compulsory social distancing protocols inside educational campuses have been cancelled. Instead, such restrictions are being left to the discretion of each institution — including arrangements inside school buses.

Thermal screening of pupils and employees has also been ended.

What about private schools?

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 that 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.

Pupils and staff who are close contacts of a person infected with the coronavirus but do not have any symptoms will not need to isolate and can attend school.

In Abu Dhabi, pupils and staff need to maintain a green status on Al Hosn smartphone app.

The pass will stay green for 14 days after a negative test for vaccinated pupils aged 16 and older, teachers and other staff, and 30 days for under-16s.

All pupils must be free of any coronavirus-related symptoms and maintain their green status on Al Hosn app, in accordance with their age category.

Updated: August 29, 2022, 4:13 AM