Covid-19: Dubai teachers asked to avoid parties

KHDA tells educators to 'consider different options' when it comes to going out

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Teachers in Dubai have been urged to avoid parties following the recent surge in Covid-19 cases.

In a series of graphics circulated on its Twitter account, the emirate's private schools regulator (KHDA) outlined two opposing scenarios.

In one, a teacher named Ms Salma celebrates her birthday with five of her colleagues at a party in a restaurant, where they order several shared dishes.

The next graphic shows an unfolding disaster, where one of the teachers tests positive for coronavirus, making the other five close contacts. All six teachers then have to quarantine, and their pupils have to home-school.

In the other, happier scenario, the graphics illustrate a teacher named Ms Sara, who also celebrates her birthday, but with a Zoom and takeaway party.

One of the teachers later tests positive, but since the other five never met in person, only one class is required to home-school.

The campaign is similar in style to one the KHDA launched last week for parents, which urged them not to send their children to school if they have taken a PCR test.

The message pressed home the point that they should wait to get the result, so as not to risk the whole class having to stay home, if the test was positive.

Some parents have criticised restaurants in Dubai for deliberately advertising brunches and meal deals to teachers, suggesting it is not responsible behaviour for educators to be regularly socialising during the pandemic.

The graphics have led to lengthy discussions among teachers who follow the KHDA's Twitter account. Some felt school staff should not be discouraged from visiting restaurants as long they followed social-distancing rules. Others felt the messaging encouraged "common sense".

Michael Blakey, deputy headmaster of Foremarke Dubai, is in agreement with the sentiment expressed in campaign. "Very thought provoking. We are still in a pandemic and which choice lessens my chances of getting COVID...Happy to be like Sara," he said on Twitter.

Another user, Ms.R, also supported the message, tweeting, “I don’t even sit in the staffroom anymore! I take shelter in an empty class to teach, rest, eat then teach again.”

Covid-19 cases rose sharply in the UAE last month leading authorities to introduce new rules to curb the spread of the pandemic. Any licensed venue classified as a "pub or bar" but that is not a restaurant were asked to close immediately.

The UAE's daily Covid-19 infections climbed above 3,000 for the first time in three days on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention confirmed 3,310 cases, bringing the country's tally to 309,649.

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