Abu Dhabi: After several H1N1 precautionary measures taken among 1,246 public and private schools across the UAE, students can return to school on Wednesday, a senior official told Gulf News.

After a delayed summer vacation due to Ramadan and Eid holidays, public and private schools which follow the Ministry of Education (MoE) Curriculum, 597,000 students will start their first 2009/2010 academic school year on Wednesday.

However, staff members have already returned to learn more about taking precautionary measures.

A training workshop was organised by the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) among 181 private schools and 304 public schools emphasised precautionary measures for schools.

Mohammad Salem Al Daheri, Director of the Abu Dhabi Educational Zone (ADEZ) told Gulf News that schools are well prepared to face any H1N1 outbreak.

In a statement sent earlier on the occasion of the new academic year, Ali Mahed Al Suwaidi, Executive Director for Support and Services Affairs at the MoE said that over Dh18 million has been spent on overall cleanliness of school buildings across the Northern Emirates and Dubai.

Minister of Education, Humaid Al Qutami, stressed that the security and safety of students across schools far exceeds any education. The Director General at the Ministry of Health and Head of the National Committee for Combating Swine Flu, Dr Ali Shakar said that the ministry has no intentions in closing down or delaying school days.

Comprehensive traffic plan

Abu Dhabi: The Traffic and Patrols Department of Abu Dhabi Police has completed preparations for the new academic year with a comprehensive traffic plan.

The plan includes intensifying patrols on junctions and organizing traffic near schools to ensure the safety of pupils. It also entails awareness campaigns for students and drivers.

Colonel Hamad Adeel Al Shamsi, Director of the department, urged drivers and families taking their children to school to be pay attention and not allow children below 10 to ride in front seats or cross roads alone.

He stressed that drivers must follow the instructions by traffic police to regulate the drop off and pick up of students, which prevents congestion in the areas surrounding schools.

Lieutenant Colonel Ahmad Abdullah Al Shehi, Director General of the Capital traffic department, urged schools not to overload busses and ensure that each student has a seat onboard, adding that violating schools would be fined.

He also stressed that schools must ensure the mechanical soundness of their buses and install all safety equipment, such as seat belts and backside sensors, to avoid running over children who may be standing behind a bus.

Al Shehi underscored that every bus must have an attendant to supervise the children while boarding or leaving the bus and make sure they are not dropped off far away from their homes, which can subject them to accidents. Bus drivers should abide by speed limits and give childre

n a chance to sit down before driving away, he said.