Dubai/Abu Dhabi: All schools in the UAE will remain closed on Thursday, March 10, due to heavy rain and thunderstorms, officials said on Wednesday.

Education authorities announced that the schools are to be closed to ensure students’ safety.

“The Minister of Education, Hussain Ebrahim Al Hammadi, issued a decision to suspend the official work hours of all public and private schools in the country,” a statement by the Ministry of Education stated.

Similarly, Mohammad Darwish, Chief of Regulations and Permits Commission at Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), also said that all private schools in Dubai will remain closed. 

“Due to predicted weather conditions, private schools in Dubai will remain closed on Thursday (10 March, 2016), keeping in view the safety of students and staff. Schools are advised to use their discretion to assist any students appearing for external examinations.”

The Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) also announced on Wednesday that all schools in the emirate will close on Thursday.

Many schools in the country were shut on Wednesday.

Abu Dhabi education regulator Adec announced on Tuesday night that all schools in Abu Dhabi would remain closed the following day (March 9). KHDA also said it received many requests from schools in Dubai to close on Wednesday.

Some of the schools include Oasis School, Dubai English Speaking School (Oud Metha), Dubai English Speaking School (DIAC), Al Salam Private School, Jebel Ali Primary school — both branches, Emirates International School, Star International School, Mirdif and Star International School, Al Twar, to name a few.

Following this, school authorities sent out emails and text messages to inform parents.

“We have taken the advice of the authorities and in certain circumstances schools have closed early owing to the weather. Parents have been notified, and in situations where parents are not available students will be kept at school with adequate supervision until a guardian can pick them up,” said a GEMS spokesperson.

“My husband saw an email from my five-year-old son’s school in the morning saying that school was off for the day. Everything seemed very calm and quiet then so we thought it may have been just a bit of extra precaution. But with the way things are on the roads now, I’m relieved he is home,” Melanie Carpenter, an Australian media executive and mother-of-two, told Gulf News. Carpenter said she had noticed debris, fallen trees and general chaos when driving to work. Her two-year-old daughter also did not attend nursery, which was also closed for the day.

CBSE exams to continue

Despite the Ministry of Education’s directive to close all schools on Thursday, the board examinations being conducted by India’s Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will continue as per schedule.

Dr Ashok Kumar, CEO of Indian High School (IHS), told Gulf News: “We cannot change the examination schedule as it comes from Delhi and examinations are being held simultaneously with India. Therefore, while the rest of the school will be closed on Thursday, students appearing for Grade 10 and 12 examinations will have their examinations as per schedule at their designated exam centres.”

Students appearing for these exams are advised not to panic and be well prepared by reaching their school an hour earlier so that they can be transported to their respective centres without any incident.

Dr Kumar added: “On Wednesday Grade 12 students appeared for the chemistry exam which ended at 12 noon and students reached home safely. On Thursday the Grade 10 students will appear for social studies. A total of 724 students from IHS are appearing for the social studies examination. The examination at the centre commences at 8.45am and ends at 12 noon. Our advice to students is to arrive at the school at least an hour in advance. We will then transport them to their respective centres well in advance to avoid any traffic delays.”

Examination controllers from various CBSE-curriculum schools want the students to be prepared for the weather, be punctual and remain calm.