Dubai: Class rotations won’t be allowed and all students older than six years will have to wear a mask as part of ‘Protocols for the Reopening of Private Schools in Dubai’ released by Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) on Sunday.
When schools re-open, students should remain in a designated classroom – with a 1.5m distance per student – while teachers rotate instead.
The 100-plus protocols follow a recent KHDA update on its website, khda.gov.ae, that schools will be allowed to re-open in September – the start of the new 2020/21academic year – if they use measures against the spread of COVID-19.
Those half-dozen measures were broadly listed earlier and on Sunday came in much greater detail under the 118-point protocols, developed by the Dubai government.
The KHDA’s webpage for ‘Frequently Asked Questions – Schools’ on Sunday afternoon said though “all schools will have to comply with the protocols… they have the freedom to implement them according to their own contexts. For example, some schools may hold more outdoor classes to maintain physical distancing, while others may continue to offer online learning to some students”.
It also pointed out that “the protocols, and the way that schools implement them, will likely change as the days and weeks go by”.
The circular is accessible in full via https://www.khda.gov.ae/en/safetyatschools.
Protocols for Dubai universities, which can also re-open in September, will be released “soon”. Also awaited is an announcement regarding the opening date for nurseries and early learning centres.
All campuses in the UAE were asked to close from mid-March until the end of the school year as a precaution against the coronavirus pandemic. Classes had moved online as a result.
Sunday’s update covers various areas of school operations, such as “entry, pick-up and school visit procedures; screening and contact tracing; physical distancing arrangements; and school buses”.
Schools will re-open following a model that best suits their circumstances, including having all students in every day; implementing a part-time distance learning programme; and operating in shifts.
Some re-opening protocols (source: KHDA)
- If a child/teacher/staff begins to show symptoms of COVID-19 while at school, they must get isolated instantly, and the parent/ guardian of the child to be notified immediately and the patient should be referred to the hospital to take the necessary action. The patient should not return to school until the PCR result is obtained.
- If the result is negative and there is a clinical assessment of a probable COVID-19 case, the patient should complete a 14-day quarantine. If the result is negative and there is no clinical assessment for a probable case, the child can resume schooling so long as they are symptom-free.
- If the result is positive, the traced contacts of the patient, including teachers along with the classmates of a student, or colleagues are all considered close contacts (Anyone who spent more than 15 minutes in a proximity of 2 metres with the positive case, from the day of symptoms onset, or the day of the positive PCR test). They should all commence the 14-day quarantine counted PCR from the day of the positive test, or from the day of the onset of symptoms if ascertained by the clinician.
- Pantries can be opened for usage by individuals strictly for food and drink consumption maintaining a 2 metres physical distancing. No buffets or other forms of gatherings are allowed.
- PE lessons should focus on sports that do not require physical interaction; and school swimming pools will remain closed until further notice
- Showers and changing rooms are not permitted. On the days where students have PE lessons, they must come to school in their full PE uniform.
- Vending machines, pantries and pre-packed food and beverages are allowed, on the condition that they follow necessary guidelines for the sector (only disposable containers, frequent sanitisation of machines, and pantries items, maintaining 2 metres between the tables)
- Students and teachers must bring their own exclusive stationary items, devices or gadgets (i.e. laptops, tablets, headphones, etc.). Student should not share their stationery. If the children need a supply of stationery, it should be done by the teacher via proper disinfection.
- Families drop off and pick up at one designated areas and designated timings with no interaction inside the school. There should be no access to the rest of the school facility by family members and visitors. Family members should be given maximum time limit of 10 minutes in the designated area to pick up/drop off with no crowding, maintenance of a 2 metres distancing, and wearing of masks at all times.
- Schools must use buses at half capacity and to place marks on chairs for seating guidance. Anyone entering the bus should undergo temperature screening. Anyone with a temperature ≥37.50Cshould not be allowed on the bus.