BC back to school
Efforts on to make back-to-school a breeze. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Sharjah: Students will be back in their classes for the next academic year 2020-2021 in Sharjah with precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA) announced on Monday.

According to a statement from SPEA, students can return to schools provided precautionary measures are adopted by the schools. These measures include thermal screening of students, adherence to social distancing, reduction in the capacity of classes, sterilisation of facilities and reduction in student capacity on school buses by 30 per cent.

According to Dr Muhadditha Al Hashimi, chairperson of SPEA, resumption of classes in all private schools for the next academic year represents the UAE's ability to face a crisis and its keenness to continue with academics.

“The authority will be in direct contact with all private schools in Sharjah to make sure precautionary measures are implemented and teachers and school staff comply with them. We will have inspection visits for the next academic year after students return to schools,” Al Hashimi said.

She also said that the authority held meetings with private schools to know their opinion and take their suggestions for resuming classes in schools.

“There will be a daily thermal screening for everyone who enters the schools, including students, teachers and staff. Schools should adhere to social distancing and reduce the capacity of classes and regularly sterilise the facilities as per instructions from the National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority,” Al Hashimi added.

According to the statement, schools will conduct school days in such a way so that social distancing is maintained at all times, even during lunch breaks.

All extracurricular activities such as school trips, celebrations, student camps and sport activities will remain suspended until further notice.

“School buses will be allowed to carry only 30 per cent of their capacity, while all passengers' temperature will be checked,” Al Hashimi said.

Each school will have to appoint an experienced health and safety officer, in addition to a licensed nursing staff member, to ensure precautionary instructions are being followed.

Maintenance staff will not be allowed into schools during the day.

“These procedures apply to all private schools with no exceptions,” said Al Hashimi.

“Mechanisms of implementing these procedures may differ from one school to another, based on factors like school size. We trust our schools will be able to come up with best solutions during these exceptional times,” she added.