Coronavirus: Some UAE schools resume e-learning after suspected Covid-19 cases

Schools, in different emirates, closed classrooms to protect staff and pupils, officials say

DUBAI , UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Aug 28 , 2016 : Students going for the assembly  on the first day of school after the summer vacation at the Bradenton Preparatory Academy in Dubai Sports City in Dubai. ( Pawan Singh / The National ) For News. Story by Nadeem Hanif. ID No - 77443 *** Local Caption ***  PS2808- NEW SCHOOL YEAR01.jpg

Some schools across the UAE have resumed distance learning as a precaution after some staff were suspected to have contracted Covid-19.

The schools, which are in different emirates, again closed classrooms to protect staff and pupils, the Ministry of Education and the National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority said on Tuesday.

"As a precaution, education, emergency and crisis authorities announce the transfer of a group of schools to the distance-learning system," the authority said on Twitter.

It said the suspected cases were identified during Covid-19 screenings for teachers and administrative staff prior to the reopening of schools this week.

"This precautionary measure will remain in place until the results of the laboratory tests appear," the authority said.

School administrations will communicate directly with parents to update them on any changes, the state news agency Wam reported.

The schools involved were not identified by authorities, who also called on people to refrain from spreading rumours.

The authority said legal action would be taken against anyone who did not respect the privacy of people or did not adhere to precautionary measures.

Schools and universities in the UAE were closed in March to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Pupils and students completed the past academic year through online learning.

The new academic year began on Sunday for hundreds of thousands of pupils, with most schools across the country implementing a blended model of e-learning and classes.

Thousands of teaching staff across the country were tested before the start of the school year.

Schools have adopted safety measures to protect pupils and staff from contracting the virus, including mandatory face masks, physical distancing, a staggered return to classes and "pupil bubbles".

Procedures are in place should a suspected case of coronavirus emerge.

These include immediately isolating the person, calling emergency services and carrying out contact tracing to ensure no one else was exposed.

Anyone suspected of having Covid-19 must quarantine at home for two weeks and present a negative PCR test before returning to school.

The Abu Dhabi Media Office announced on Tuesday that the emirate's emergency authorities were ready with precautionary measures to shift schools to distance learning should there be any suspected case.

"The committee confirms that, should this take place, schools will update parents directly on schooling systems and if contact with a positive case occurred," it said on Twitter.

"The committee calls on the community to avoid spreading rumours and to respect the privacy of schools and individuals."