Kids playing with blocks in a nursery in Dubai. Picture for illustrative purposes only Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: All staff members of Early Learning Centres (ELCs) in Dubai must take a COVID-19 PCR test before the reopening of the ELC, it was announced on Wednesday as part of reopening rules for these institutions.

Meanwhile, children under the age of 12 with a travel history will have to undergo a mandatory 14-day isolation from their date of arrival to the UAE, or provide a negative PCR test result to enter the building of an ELC.

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“Routine COVID-19 PCR testing is not mandatory for children under the age of 12. Only those who show symptoms of COVID-19 are required to take the PCR test,” the newly-announced guidelines say.

The guidelines stem from the ‘Protocols for the Reopening of Early Learning Centres in Dubai’ developed by the Dubai government and posted on Wednesday on a dedicated webpage of Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).

The KHDA webpage says: “Only ELCs that are licensed by KHDA will be required to comply with the protocols. Before opening, each Early Learning Centre will need to submit an ELC Readiness Plan for approval to KHDA to ensure that all health and safety protocols will be followed. Parents will also be asked to sign a declaration for each of their children at the ELC to confirm that their child is fit and healthy enough to return to the setting, and declaring any recent international travel.”

What is included in the protocols?

Testing all ELC staff before the centre reopens

Before reopening, the centre should collect health and travel declaration forms from all children and staff.

Screening all children and staff for elevated body temperature at every entry point to the ELC

Maintaining physical distance guidelines as recommended by the relevant health authorities

Maintaining a maximum of 10 children per classroom at all times

Wearing of masks by all ELC staff … No enrolled child at an ELC is required to wear a face mask

All bus riders, with the exception of children younger than six years need to wear masks

The official authorities should be immediately notified in case any person in the premises presents with Covid-19 symptoms

Organising and managing the students’ working day including mealtimes to avoid high concentrations of students in one place. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

If a member of staff or child has confirmation of a positive COVID-19 PCR test by a Dubai Health Authority (DHA) approved clinical laboratory, they are not to return unless they are granted a de-isolation clearance certificate endorsed by DHA that states that the person has been isolated for 14 days with no symptoms and have a negative PCR test.

Limiting gatherings and suspending or putting group activities online, such as school celebrations, and sports events

Organising and managing the students’ working day including mealtimes to avoid high concentrations of students in one place.

Food catering at this stage is not allowed, and families must supply food and beverage for their children along with their own plastic safe utensils.

Sterilising the ELC building, classrooms, laboratories, learning resources and other facilities regularly

Ensuring that support and maintenance service staff do not enter the ELC building when children and staff are present

Appointing a trained health and safety official to ensure that people and processes in the ELC comply with health and safety protocols.

At least one staff member holding a current certification in paediatric first aid and CPR needs to be available at all times in each facility.

Source: KHDA