Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 27 October 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Isolation journal reveals how Covid-19 affected UAE pupils

Hundreds of entries show how the stay-home order forced children to re-evaluate their priorities appreciate friendships

Hundreds of pupils have contributed to a school journal that documented how they spent their isolation when school campuses closed nationwide to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The 400-page journal was a pupil-led project at the Westminster School in Dubai and has entries from FS1 to graduating pupils, who expressed their thoughts through writing and drawings.

All educational institutions closed in the Emirates in March and 24-hour stay-home orders were instated in Dubai to prevent a spike in infections.

Pupils shared how they felt about being away from friends, teachers and staying indoors during the three-week stay-home order.

Saif Sultan, a pupil in year 3, wrote: “During the isolation I realised the worth of a lot of things, like playing under the sun, leaving the house, going to school, meeting my friends and a lot more.

“It was a lesson for me to appreciate everything. Studying online has made our eyes and backs weaker by sitting in front of devices for too long. We stopped writing as much as before, and studying became harder and boring.”

It was a lesson for me to appreciate everything

Saif Sultan

Arizza Dumayag, year 11 pupil, wrote that she used the spare time to develop new skills, such as baking, sewing and making mobile phone cases for friends.

She said she took on the extra activities to cope with the new changes caused by the virus.

“Quarantine has taught me that I have no patience at all,” wrote Arizza.

“I have been bored after just three days of staying at home with nothing to do. The first week of quarantine was easy to get through, but the more time I spent at home, the more my sanity was slipping. I was extremely bored and exhausted because I have not been sleeping properly now that school has been cancelled.

“Once quarantine is over the first thing I will do is hang out with my friends and eat lots of food. We will watch movies, drink bubble tea and just catch up on some stuff.”

Schools in Dubai and Abu Dhabi reopened last month but not all pupils are back in class.

Parents across the country were given the option between choosing in-person classes and e-learning for the first term, as the UAE continues its fight against the virus.

Meanwhile, Sharjah extended online learning for another two weeks.

“A pandemic doesn’t happen every day and we thoughts expressing our feelings could help during these times,” said Taif Ibrahim, one of the pupils who led the project.

“We wanted pupils to share their experiences and write or draw about what they felt and what they were doing. We didn’t want anyone feeling alone.”

The full journal is available online.

Back to school: Pupils return to in-person classes

Updated: September 21, 2020 04:02 PM

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