Coronavirus: UAE nurseries to open based on safety preparedness

Childcare centres can also resume operations in line with safety measures

Nurseries and childcare centres across the UAE can reopen when health and safety measures are met, authorities said on Thursday.

The Ministry of Education and the National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority said the venues could resume operations.

Nurseries, schools and universities, closed their doors in March as part of nationwide efforts to stem the spread of Covid-19.

The emergency authority announced safety guidelines to which nurseries across the country must adhere to reopen:

• Establishments must measure temperatures of children and staff.

• They must regulate the movement of staff and children into nurseries and childcare centres.

• It is mandatory for all staff to be tested for Covid-19 every two weeks.

• Sterilisation and hygiene procedures must be conducted regularly and physical distancing of 1.5 metres is to be adopted. Only one group of children is allowed in a maximum of 3.5 square metres. Children will be divided by age and the maximum size of the groups will be determined to ensure the safety of all.

• All toys and games must be disinfected and must not be shared between groups. Meals must be provided by parents.

• Regular inspections will be carried out by authorities to ensure venues are adhering to safety procedures.

"The Ministry of Education and Ncema announced the reopening of nurseries and childcare centres according to special requirements and precautionary and preventive measures outlined in a national protocol adopted by the authority," their joint statement said.

Abu Dhabi's Department of Education and Knowledge set out its guidelines for reopening nurseries in the emirate.

The measures include:

• Operating at a limited capacity, with the specific number of children dependent on available space.

• Children will be cared for in small groups or "bubbles".

• Daily health screenings and temperature checks will be conducted for all staff and children.

• Children with health conditions will not be allowed to return to nursery.

• All staff will undergo online Covid-19 training.

• Parents are to notify staff immediately if their child displays symptoms or has been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19.

Schools in the UAE will welcome back pupils and staff to classrooms for the start of the new academic year on Sunday.

Late on Thursday night, the Abu Dhabi government unveiled provisions to support parents whose children will be continuing distance learning during the first term of the year.

Government employees in the emirate will have the option to work remotely if they have children enrolled in distance learning for the first term.

"Employees must provide a letter from the school confirming that their children are enrolled in distance learning," a statement on Abu Dhabi Media Office's Twitter account said.

"All previous remote working guidelines remain in place.

"A dedicated call centre, 800555 is available for all enquiries from government employees."

EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS