File photo of students heading to school, for illustrative purposes only Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: School operators, leaders and teachers across Dubai are working together to ensure that the return to full-time face-to-face learning from October 3 is a safe and enjoybale experience for all students. From Sunday, all teaching and learning in Dubai’s private schools will take place face-to-face.

Nearly 75 per cent of students have already returned to school since the start of the academic year, up from 50 per cent in September 2020.

Community effort

Dr Abdulla Al Karam

Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director-General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), said: “The entire education community – including government, school staff and parents – have been working together to make sure that students return safely to school. While we are readjusting to full-time face-to-face learning, it’s important to keep wellbeing at the heart of the teaching and learning experience. We’re grateful to our community for everything they’ve done to support high-quality education in Dubai, and we look forward to a safe academic year full of friendship, happiness and fun.”

Widespread compliance with guidlines

Since the beginning of September, the KHDA team has made 711 visits to schools, with an average of three visits per school, reviewing their compliance with health and safety measures. The overwhelming majority of schools were found to be in compliance with all precautionary guidelines.

Also, more than 96 per cent of teaching staff and 70 per cent of children aged 12 to 17 in Dubai have been vaccinated against COVID-19, officials had said last month.

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Excused categories

While the majority of students will be returning to school on Sunday, distance learning will still be offered to students who have a valid medical certificate from Dubai Health Authority, and those who are unable to return to the UAE due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Earlier this year, nearly 75,000 parents completed the KHDA Parents’ Survey. Of these, 89 per cent of parents said they felt their children were safe at school.

Activities resume

Provided schools comply with health and safety protocols, the following activities can also resume:

-Sports and swimming 

-School trips, excursions and camps

-After-hours extra-curricular activities

-Performances, assemblies and other events at school or at an external venue

About vaccination and PCR tests

Vaccination is not compulsory. Eligible school staff who do not wish to have the vaccine must submit a negative PCR test each week. Students are not obliged to submit negative PCR tests.