School cleaning COVID-19
The guidelines apply to universities, schools, nurseries, early childhood centres and centres for special needs in Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has updated the guidelines for the management of COVID-19 in educational institutions which fall under DHA’s jurisdiction, said a top health official.

The guidelines apply to universities, schools, nurseries, early childhood centres and centres for special needs in Dubai which fall under DHA’s jurisdiction.

Dr Hanan Obaid, Director for the Health Policies and Standards Department at DHA’s Health Regulation Sector, said: “Our aim is to protect the health and wellbeing of students and staff members while ensuring the continuity of learning to the best possible extent. These detailed guidelines provide clear, precise and comprehensive step-by-step protocols for the concerned educational institutions so that they are well prepared and equipped to provide a safelearning environment for students, as well as protect staff members.”

Dr Obaid said the main updates include: The physical distancing requirements for students is now 1 metre instead of 2 meters. However, all preventive precautions such as wearing a facemask, hand hygiene etc shall continue. The quarantine duration for a close contact has been reducedto seven days. Vaccinated or not vaccinated, close contacts should quarantine for seven days and no PCR testing is required at the end of quarantine period if the person is symptom-free. However, if there are symptoms, the close contact must do a PCR test.

Isolation period for a person who has COVID-19 continues to be 10 days.

The clearance certificate (required after completion of isolation period for a positive case) will be issued automatically. Students and staff may return to the educational institution upon submission of the clearance certificate, or by calling 800-342 and requesting for a clearance certificate.

Dr Sawsan Al Nahas, Acting Head of School Health Section at the DHA, said: “The guideline elaborates classification of low-risk, moderate and high-risk of transmission as well as all the mandatory measures the educational institution has to undertake based on the risk of infection. Everything from isolation room requirements, to adherence of precautionary measures, contact tracing, close contacts and risk assessment are highlighted in detail in the guideline.”

Dr Al Nahas added that the document is aligned with the KHDA Back to School Protocol, Dubai Municipality Protocol for Cleaning and Disinfection, Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) COVID-19 school bus safety guideline as well as several pertinent national guidelines such as contact tracing of COVID-19 positive cases and management of a suspected case of COVID-19.

Dr Al Nahas said: “Educational institutions can reach us at any point in time. Our communication channels are open and the aim is to continue to have a strong working relationship to support each other with a common mission to provide the safest possible learning environment for students, protect their health and the health of all the staff working in these institutions.”