Coronavirus: Gems schools prepare to reopen in September

An extensive cleaning programme is under way

Gems Education started a sterilisation programme at its schools to prepare for their reopening in September.

A representative said schools were undergoing extensive work that covers everything from food handling and deep cleaning to school transportation and staff accommodation.

The UAE's largest education provider is also reviewing measures that include the introduction of sanitisation tunnels at entry points and the use of thermal cameras.

“The safety of our students, parents, teachers and staff is of utmost importance and remains our top priority,” said Paul Slater, vice president of operations and health, safety and environment at Gems Education.

“Our preparations for reopening schools are already well under way.

“We have been meticulously reviewing practices across Europe and Asia to ensure we apply only the best global standards.”

He said that a team of health and safety professionals was working to ensure the most up-to-date standards were being met throughout the schools.

Gems Education manages more than 250 schools worldwide and teaches about 174,000 pupils.

Education chiefs have drawn up plans for children to return to classrooms in September, providing strict safety measures are adhered to.

These include reduced class sizes, temperature checks, a ban on sharing food and only 30 per cent of passengers being allowed on school buses.

Students have been studying from home since March, when schools were shut to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority said the learning experience would look different when classrooms reopen, and schools could choose whether they wanted to return to full-time classes or have a blend of in-person and online learning.

Mr Slater said that a special task force was appointed to oversee the reopening of the schools.

The group’s sole purpose will be to ensure the schools are ready to operate safely.