UAE public schools and universities to extend distance learning until January 21

Move is in line with efforts to limit the spread of Covid-19

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Latest: Abu Dhabi schools to extend distance learning for a week at least

Distance learning will be extended for a further week at government schools and universities in the UAE, the authorities said on Wednesday.

Hazza Al Mansouri, spokesman for the education sector, said pupils would continue to study remotely from Monday, January 17 through to Friday, January 21.

Private schools in the Northern Emirates often follow suit.

Mr Al Mansoori said all exams requiring attendance for schools and universities would be postponed until after Friday January 28.

The measures were set out in a coronavirus briefing held by the government.

The authorities previously announced public schools would switch to remote learning for the first two weeks of term.

National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority decisions typically apply to Abu Dhabi and are followed by the Northern Emirates. Schools in Dubai and Sharjah, which have their own private education regulators, are not affected by such decisions.

The Abu Dhabi authorities also approved an extension of remote learning for public and private schools for one week, from January 17.

They said the decision had been made to "enable all education facilities to be fully prepared for a safe return for students".

"The decision applies to all public and private schools in the emirate, as well as universities, colleges and training institutes," the authority said.

On Monday, Abu Dhabi's private education regulator polled parents about the prospect of continuing remote learning "for the next few weeks".

“Knowing that you will have the option to change your mind and send your children physically to school after January 31, which learning option do you prefer for the coming few weeks?”, parents were asked in the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge survey.

Options included distance learning, an alternating week mode – one week at school, one week distance learning – a staggered return of age groups one week apart, and a full physical return to classrooms.

During the briefing, Noura Al Ghaithi, a government health spokeswoman, stressed the importance of receiving a third booster shot against Covid-19.

She urged eligible members of the public to receive the additional dose to safeguard their health and that of others, particularly the elderly and those with chronic illnesses.

She said the booster campaign was central to protecting public and bolstering efforts to reach herd immunity.

The UAE has overseen one the world's most robust vaccination drives.

Close to 23 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered to date, with more than 92 per cent of the public receiving two doses.

Updated: January 13, 2022, 6:51 AM
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