Abu Dhabi: Grace Valley Indian School has become the first institution in Abu Dhabi Emirate to achieve minimum student vaccination rates of 85 per cent, the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) has announced.
The school is now designated as a Blue Tier school, and its students will be able to remove face masks when outdoors. They will also not need to maintain physical distancing, and can enjoy attending a full range of extracurricular events, sports competition, field trips and graduation ceremonies. These are part of reduced COVID-19 precautionary measures prescribed by the Adek for all Blue Tier schools.
Till date, a total of 107,000 students across Abu Dhabi schools have been vaccinated, representing 39 per cent of the total number of students, the Adek added. This includes 94 per cent of students aged at least 16 years old, 70 per cent of students aged between 12 and 15 years old, and 40 per cent of those under 12 years old. This last category of the youngest schoolchildren has seen vaccination rates double over last two weeks, ever since the activation of the Blue Schools Initiative, the authority said.
COVID-19 vaccination remains voluntary for children aged under 15 years in the emirate, but health authorities have recommended the shots to help enhance children’s immunity against the infectious disease. The Adek accordingly launched the Blue Schools Initiative, which ranks schools based on overall student vaccination rate, and offers increasing privileges as schools progress through the ranks by increasing their student vaccination rates.
“The efforts made by the Grace Valley Indian School community to return to normalcy stand as an exemplary role model to the Abu Dhabi education sector. I would like to personally thank all parents who chose to vaccinate their children, your decision has helped to protect the health and safety of your child’s school community and contributed towards a return to pre-pandemic school operations. I call upon all Private and Charter Schools to continue working towards achieving the Blue tier to safeguard the health and safety of our entire Abu Dhabi education ecosystem,” said Sara Musallam, Adek chairman.
The announcement of the inaugural school to reach the Blue tier comes as Adek provides the first Blue Schools Initiative update since its activation earlier this month. Nine private and charter Schools in the emirate have advanced through the Initiative’s four tiers following an increase in student vaccination rates.
The update shows that in addition to Grace Valley Indian School reaching the Blue tier, seven schools have progressed from Orange to Yellow tier, while one school has moved from Yellow to Green tier, with those in Green becoming a step closer to achieving the coveted top Blue tier.
Increase in vaccination
“Since Blue Schools Initiative’s activation just two weeks ago, we have seen a prominent increase in student vaccination rates. School community stakeholders, including students, parents, principals, and teachers have worked collectively to make this possible, and it is encouraging to see so many schools advance through the tiers due to an increase in student vaccination adoption. We look forward to celebrating more schools that advance to the Blue tier soon,” Musallam said.
In line with the ongoing increase in vaccination rates, Adek has also launched a survey in cooperation with schools to gauge parents’ opinion on COVID-19 immunisation. The survey results highlight that 52,000 parents are interested in vaccinating their children, a decision that will allow more schools to advance through the Blue Schools Initiative tiers expediting a return to normalcy.
More vaccination efforts
Based on the survey of parents, Adek expects the proportion of vaccinated students to soon increase by 21 per cent, which will raise the percentage of vaccinated students to 59 per cent. In response to parents’ interest in vaccinating their children, the authority is therefore coordinating with the relevant health authorities to provide dedicated vaccination locations for Abu Dhabi school students.
Blue: 85 per cent or more of the students physically attending school are vaccinated against COVID-19.
Green: 65 — 84 per cent of the students physically attending school are vaccinated against COVID-19.
Yellow: 50 — 64 per cent of the students physically attending school are vaccinated against COVID-19.
Orange: Less than 50 per cent of the students physically attending school are vaccinated against COVID-19.