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SPEA on Monday night posted on its social media accounts the countdown to schools reopening on September 27. Image Credit: Instagram/Twitter

Sharjah: Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA) on Tuesday confirmed schools will reopen next week on Sunday, September 27, following all checks on their readiness and COVID-19 countermeasures.

Classes will resume for direct and hybrid lessons in Sharjah for the first time since schools closed six months ago in March because of the pandemic, switching fully to distance learning.

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Schools in Sharjah were initially supposed to reopen on August 31, the first day of the current academic year, along with schools in other emirates. However, in a surprise announcement on August 25, SPEA had said schools in Sharjah would adopt 100 per cent distance learning for the first two weeks of the new academic year. Again, on September 8, SPEA said the reopening scheduled for September 13 was pushed back another two weeks. The decisions to reschedule the reopening on both occasions was based on the prevailing “heath status” at the time in Sharjah, SPEA had said.

Now, SPEA, in conjunction with the Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Team in Sharjah, has reiterated schools will reopen as planned on September 27. However, not all students will return to all schools at the same time as some schools will follow a phased or gradually reopening process.

Official visits

The development follows visits by officials from SPEA, in partnership with other departments, to private schools to check their ability to reopen while following precautionary measures against the coronavirus. Those checks are apparently now complete, paving the way for schools reopening next week.

Also, all school staff have been undergoing COVID-19 tests, as well as students aged 12 and above who have opted for in-person classes. Many other students have selected full distance learning for this term, which ends in December.

Pupils at a Sharjah school last year. Schools will reopen under precautionary measures. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News Archives

SPEA has been counting down the days to reopening by posting the number of remaining days (which started when there were 10 days remaining) on their Instagram account. The latest announcement, reported on Tuesday in Arabic daily Emarat Al Youm, reconfirms the decision to reopen on September 27.

Schools will reopen under precautionary measures such as temperature check on the school bus and entrance to campus, reduced bus and classroom capacity to maintain social distance, wearing of masks for all staff and students (expect those below six years), frequent sanitisation of all facilities and isolation room for suspected COVID-19 cases.