Coronavirus: many spring break camps allowed to remain open

Camps - which are regulated differently to activity centres and creches, have not closed this holiday

Spring break camps around the UAE will continue to stay open despite the ongoing disruption caused by coronavirus.

Centres catering to young children in the country assured parents special measures were now in place to better protect against the spread of Covid-19.

On Tuesday, more than 20 activity centres in Dubai announced they had suspended their activities for children under the age of 18.

But spring break camps, which focus on play rather than sport, said they would remain open, and were still taking bookings.

Cheeky Monkeys, a centre with camps across the Emirates, said it was running events until April 9 for children aged between two-and-a-half and eight.

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Schools are not open, so parents are trying to find options to ensure their children continue learning while they are at work

“We are getting enquiries and registrations,” said Melinda Meneses, marketing manager at the company.

“We started on Sunday and have a decent number of participants. Schools are not open, so parents are trying to find options to ensure their children continue learning while they are at work.

“We always ensure the highest standards of hygiene and cleanliness. We have cleaning at the centres two or three times in a day and anyone walking in to the centre is asked to use a hand sanitiser.”

Last week, the UAE government announced all schools, nurseries and universities would close for a month as part of efforts to contain Covid-19.

The usual two-week spring break was brought forward to start on March 8, after which students will continue their studies via remote learning programmes.

Since then, a number of sport camps have said they had temporarily stopped activities.

Hamilton Aquatics, a swimming academy in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, is among them, as is Just Football in Dubai.

Others spring break camps remain open, however, and have introduced special measures such as limiting group sizes to reduce risk of infections.

Parkour in Dubai said it was running a spring camp at their academy in Al Quoz for the next four weeks.

Officials told parents everything possible was being done to keep children their safe.

“We hope this might offer a solution for some of you who haven't yet been able to make alternative arrangements for your kids while they are off school,” an email to parents said.

“Please be assured we have put in extra measures, as per government recommendations, to ensure that our academy and our coaches are reducing the risk of infection as far as is practicable and possible.

“We aim to provide a safe space for your children to move and play and keep their routines during this uncertain time.”

Meanwhile, OliOli, a children’s museum in Dubai, said it was also running a spring camp for children aged between four and nine.

It said numbers of visitors would be restricted to five families every 30 minutes, and that parts of the museum would be temporarily closed each day for cleaning.

"We may be temporarily closing down certain galleries for up to 25 minutes for disinfection purposes during the day," an email to parents said.

“While the above measures are meant to reduce risks, unfortunately we can't mitigate such risks entirely.

“For your own safety and that of our team and other guests, we would kindly request that you avoid visiting OliOli if you and/or your child are unwell.”

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