Distance learning to continue for Year 7 to 9 children in Abu Dhabi but older pupils may go back to school

Pupils who are in Years 10 to 13 and are due to sit exams were given the option to attend face-to-face lessons

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Some pupils in Abu Dhabi will continue with online learning but children due to sit international exams next year will have the option to attend face-to-face lessons, it was announced on Tuesday.

All children older than 12 were to return to classrooms in late September or early October under a staggered plan.

But the initiative has been altered to protect the health of pupils.

Authorities said children in Grade 6 to Grade 8 (Years 7 to 9) would continue with distance learning for the foreseeable future.

However, The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority said pupils in Grades 9 to 12 (Years 10 to 13) who are due to sit international exams such as GCSEs, A-levels and International Baccalaureate next year have been given the option to attend in-person lessons. 

Schools said they are looking forward to welcoming pupils back who are preparing to sit exams this academic year.

"The decision is for pupils in years 7 to 13 to continue distance learning for the immediate period, but provides an option of in-person classes to those taking exams in years 10 to 13," said Mark Leppard, the headmaster of The British School Al Khubairat.

"We are really looking forward to welcoming the pupils who choose the face-to-face option to come back into school. We will also continue to put our energy into providing high quality distance learning, and maintaining a community spirit and pastoral care for those who opt to stay at home."

He confirmed all children returning in years 10 to 13 would be required to take a Covid-19 PCR swab test to prove they are virus-free before they enter the school building.

"It is our collective responsibility as a community to continue to follow the health and safety requirements to ensure that face-to-face learning remains a viable option," said Mr Leppard.

The majority of children between the ages of 4 nd 11 in the emirate returned to in-person classes on August 30.

“The Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Committee resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic in the emirate of Abu Dhabi announced the continuation of distance learning for sixth graders / seventh year and above, after continuous follow-up of the preventive measures applied and in the interest of students' health and safety,” Abu Dhabi Media Office tweeted on Tuesday.