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KHDA says that the schools and universities will continue to operate to ensure minimum disruption to studies in the UAE. Photo for illustrative purpose only Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Some residents wonder why schools and colleges in the UAE are not closed in the wake of some coronavirus cases in the country.

The answer is that there is no high risk of Covid-19 in the UAE as far 21 coronavirus cases have been reported in the country while five of them have already recovered.

However, massive precautionary measures have been put in place across the country with education operators sending out notifications asking schools and universities to suspend all gatherings. Schools have been asked to suspend the morning assemblies, field trips, sport competitions and after school activities. Major events, musical shows and other gatheirngs have also been either cancelled or postponed to prevent Covid-19.

Although, nurseries across the country have been closed from March 1 to 15 to protect the small children, schools and universities across the country remain open but with plenty of preventive measures in place.

Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), education operator in Dubai, has launched an online awareness campaign to answer queries raised by the parents. The KHDA says it would continue to update the document regularly to include all the questions the KHDA receive from the community.

Following are some of the KHDA’s answers to some of the queries asked by the community

Why have all gatherings been cancelled?

Cancelling all gatherings is a precautionary measure to prevent any chance of the Coronavirus being spread in Dubai. We want everyone to stay as safe as possible and to continue to enjoy their time at school. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

How worried should I be?

Please don’t panic. This decision is a preventive measure to make sure everyone in Dubai stays safe.

What kind of gatherings does this include?

It includes all events that bring together students from the same school such as sports days, international days or assemblies. It also includes all events that bring together students from different schools, such as sports fixtures. All excursions, school camps and other school trips, whether inside or outside the UAE, are also cancelled.

Is this just for schools?

No. This decision applies to early learning centres and universities in Dubai as well.

How long will this decision last?

We don’t know yet. We’re in constant contact with DHA who are monitoring the situation. As soon as we hear of a change, we’ll let you know.

How will this affect the school day?

Classes will continue to run as usual. School canteens can remain open and staff meetings can go ahead as normal.

Why don’t schools just close?

While we’re doing everything we can to prevent the risk of spreading infection and keep our children safe, we also want to make sure that their education is disrupted as little as possible. If students’ safety is deemed to be at risk, we will protect it every way we can.

Does this decision only apply to student gatherings and activities?

No. It also applies to all events for teachers, parents and other adults working at schools in Dubai.

For example, well-being workshops for teachers will not go ahead as planned, nor will upcoming sessions for parents at KHDA.

My children are currently on a school trip. Does this mean they have to come back?

The decision to cancel all gatherings does not include trips which have already started. We leave it to school leaders to decide the best action to take for these trips.

What about extra-curricular activities? I’ve already paid for those.

Extra-curricular activities are also cancelled for the time being. Please check with your provider directly about their refund policies.

I’ve already paid money for my children to take part in trips. Will I get my money back?

Please check directly with your school about their refund policy in this circumstance.

Will school trips and camps be rescheduled?

We leave that decision up to individual schools. All previous approvals given for school trips by KHDA are no longer valid, and schools will have to reapply for approval for each trip.

My kids have been looking forward to their camp for months. They’ll be devastated.

We know that school trips and camps are a highlight of the school year for many students, and that this decision will be upsetting for everyone. Right now, it’s better to be safe than sorry. We’ll let you know as soon as the situation changes.

Who can I contact for more information about the Coronavirus?

Please call:

Estijaba Service on 8001717;

Dubai Health Authority on 800342; or

Ministry of Health & Prevention on 80011111