A plan for the safe return of public school pupils to classrooms across the UAE was set out by the Ministry of Education on Sunday.
The ministry said some pupils would resume in-person classes from January 17 – the beginning of the third week of second term – after two weeks of distance learning.
Pupils in grades nine to 12, known as cycle 3, will return to classrooms next week but schools will have their capacity limits capped to 50 per cent, to prevent crowding and ensure physical distancing.
The ministry said it would carry out weekly reviews at all public schools in the country to monitor and evaluate safety levels and “make an appropriate decision for the duration of the academic year”.
The return to classrooms will be carried out according to local health and safety regulations, including Covid-19 testing, use of Al Hosn app, physical distancing and all other measures mentioned in the Safe Return Protocols guide issued to schools.
The Ministry called on heads of schools to ensure their full commitment to these measures.
Last month, the ministry announced that government schools pupils would continue learning online for the first two weeks of term until further notice.
As part of the decision, only half of teachers and administrative staff have been at school while the rest worked from home.
The ministry said it would be up to each school to draw up its operation plans and schedules for pupils when in-person classes resume.
Private schools in Abu Dhabi followed suit, announcing a continuation of distance learning after pupils were set for a full return to classrooms.
Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee, in co-ordination with Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge, said lessons would be online for the first two weeks to protect teachers and other school staff as well as pupils.
Meanwhile, private schools in Dubai are open as usual, regulators said, with parents given the choice to continue distance learning or send their children in for face-to-face classes.