Dubai pupils return for in-person classes but Abu Dhabi goes ahead with virtual learning

Children in all public schools in the Emirates and pupils in private schools in Abu Dhabi will study remotely for the next two weeks

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Reporter: Sarwat Nasir. News. Covid-19/Coronavisus. Children arrive for school at Horizon International School in Dubai with Covid-19 prevention measures in place. Sunday, August 30th, 2020. Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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Tens of thousands of pupils returned to private schools on Sunday after a three-week winter break.

In Dubai, 210 private schools welcomed about 279,000 pupils on the first day of the second term.

Children in the emirate have the options of in-person or online lessons.

In Abu Dhabi, private and public school pupils will study remotely until January 17, after which the Ministry of Education will review the situation.

The authorities will then decide whether to extend home learning or return to face-to-face lessons.

Private-school pupils in Abu Dhabi were informed on Wednesday that they would continue distance study for the first two weeks of term.

In term one, all pupils apart from those in Years 7 to 9 and those at increased risk of Covid-19 complications had the option of attending classes in person.

Children in these year groups and those with health problems were told  before the winter break they could go back to classrooms in January.

But as of now, these plans are on hold and all pupils will study remotely.

“It has been a really smooth start to term two at our school,” said Matthew Tompkins, principal of FirstPoint School The Villa in Dubai.

“A lot of planning has gone into the start of the new term.

“We welcome 38 new joiners and an additional 92 pupils returning from distance learning.

“This now means that we have more than 90 per cent of pupils who have returned to face-to-face learning.”

In Sharjah, just 12.8 per cent of pupils in private institutions went back to school on the first day of the term.

Sharjah Private Education Authority said 19,198 pupils returned to classrooms and 149,568 continued with online lessons.

The regulatory body said some schools in the emirate have reopened physically while the majority carried on with virtual lessons.

More are expected to have pupils back in person next week.

Dubai schools reopening on August 31 – in pictures