The Ministry of Education and the National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA), in coordination with all partners, have announced new updates to the National Protocol for Educational Establishments for the Academic Year 2021-2022, which will come into force on Thursday, April 21.
This step aligns with the UAE's strategy for ensuring community health and safety and facilitating the safe return of students to educational establishments, as well as supports national efforts to achieve sustainable recovery and the return to normalcy.
The new update to the protocol allows the resumption of all activities and events in educational establishments, and permits parents to attend all student events and activities, provided they comply with preventive measures, including wearing facemasks in closed spaces and the Green Pass Protocol on Al Hosn app.
Moreover, school trips organised by educational facilities will be fully restored, with all those involved required to wear facemasks while on school buses. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated staff and students will be allowed to go on such trips, provided they have green status on their Al Hosn app.
The updated protocol also requires all university students wishing to enter dorms to conduct a PCR test once every month, or to follow the Green Pass Protocol for vaccinated and unvaccinated students.
Under the new updates, following the Green Pass Protocol will be mandatory for all visitors of educational establishments, along with students aged 16 and above, educational staff and personnel. As for students aged under 16, they have to conduct a PCR test on a monthly basis.
The new updates also outlined the procedures for the gradual closure of educational institutions in the case of confirmed COVID-19 infections, which will follow the guidelines issued by local emergency and crises committees and teams in each emirate. Such procedures include closing the educational establishment for three days, if the infection rate exceeds 15 percent of the total attendance.
As per the updated protocol, those in who come into contact with COVID-19 positive cases are no longer required to quarantine, while following the guidelines issued by the health authorities as per the National Protocol for COVID-19 Close-Contact. Furthermore, those infected and those with respiratory diseases may opt for the option of distance education.
The Ministry of Education and NCEMA noted that all the updates are applicable nationwide, while implementation at the local level will be carried out in coordination with local emergency, crises and disasters committees in each emirate.
Meanwhile, the Ministry and NCEMA stressed that all measures announced in the national protocol are subject to change based on the global and local health situation.
The Ministry and NCEMA called on all members of the public to cooperate and adhere to all preventive measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and sustain the UAE's positive achievements in this regard.