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Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Schools and universities across the country will close for a month from Sunday as part of efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus, the Ministry of Education said on Tuesday night, March 3.

Spring break, which was due to begin on March 29, will instead begin on March 8 and last two weeks. Distance learning will be introduced during the remaining two weeks, with pupils learning from home. Government schools will run a home-teaching programme called Learn from Afar from March 22 to April 5. It was due to be tested on Wednesday and Thursday. Private schools were urged to set up their own distance-learning programmes or expand existing e-learning tools such as Google Classroom, ClassDojo and Seesaw, to cover the school day.

Following the announcement a string of questions have played on parents and students minds. The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) puts together a detailed set of questions and answers to put to rest any doubts on parents and students' minds.

Take a look at them.

For schools

Will this be a four-week holiday for schools?

No. the first two weeks – starting March 8 will comprise the spring break holiday for all school students. For the two weeks beginning Sunday March 22, schools should deliver classes through distance learning.

During this time, teachers and staff are encouraged to organise their work schedule with school management in a mutually beneficial arrangement.

What kind of distance learning will be provided? Will all schools offer this?

Private schools in Dubai are at different levels of preparedness regarding distance learning, but each should provide some form of learning during the two-week period beginning March 22.

Please contact your child’s school directly to find out if and/or how they will be enabling learning during this time.

Spring break was supposed to finish on Thursday April 9. Does this mean that schools will get an additional week off?

No. All schools in the UAE will be closed for four weeks only starting Sunday, March 8. They will be resuming on Sunday April 5.

My kids have exams coming up – what happens with those?

All international exam boards have a contingency plan, and they are working on customised solutions for each country affected by school closures. They will be communicating these plans with schools in the UAE as soon as they are ready.

For universities

Will this be a four-week holiday for universities?

No. Universities do not have spring break scheduled into their academic calendars. Nevertheless, students should not enter the university campus for four weeks starting Sunday March 8. Instead, their learning should be delivered through online platforms. (Students can still live at university residences during this time.)

During this time, faculty and staff are encouraged to organise their work schedule with university management in a mutually beneficial arrangement.

I live in university accommodation on campus. Am I expected to find another place to live?

Only common learning areas across universities will be closed for 4 weeks. You can continue to live within the residences on campus.

My university was scheduled for a quality assurance visit. Will this go ahead?

No – all quality assurance audits will be rescheduled and the higher education team from KHDA will be in touch with universities affected.

Who can I contact for more information about the Coronavirus?

Please call:

- Estijaba Service on 8001717

- Dubai Health Authority on 800342 or

- Ministry of Health and Prevention on 80011111