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Abu Dhabi confirms school campuses can reopen for the new academic year

Abu Dhabi confirms school campuses can reopen for the new academic year

Schools in the UAE capital have to announce their reopening models by July 30

Abu Dhabi student School

Abu Dhabi schools can resume in-classroom learning for the new academic year 2020/21, provided they follow a set of precautionary guidelines, the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) has confirmed.

The reopening policies are framed around four main dimensions: safe operations, teaching and learning, staff and student wellbeing, and community support, a statement said.

Procedures have been laid out to ensure safety for all students and staff, while schools have also been advised on how to adopt social distancing processes and other measures without jeopardising the academic sessions.

Schools have also been urged to install appropriate equipment, screens, partitions and other protective measures and maintain the highest hygiene standards by regularly disinfecting all areas.

ADEK also encouraged schools to provide assistance to students in need, such as fee discounts, payment deferrals, and splitting term fees into monthly instalments.

The authority said it has worked with schools, parent representatives, teachers and the relevant authorities to make these policies as comprehensive as possible.

Schools in the UAE capital have to announce their reopening models by July 30, 2020 to enable parents to take an informed decision about where they wish to enrol their children for the new academic year, the statement said.

Also read: KHDA issues list of protocols for reopening of private schools in Dubai

According to the ADEK survey of Abu Dhabi private school parents, 45 per cent are willing to send their child to school, while 21 per cent are undecided on their preferred school reopening model for the coming academic year. A third of respondents (34 per cent) are willing to continue distance learning.

Among the parents who support a return to in-classroom operations, 34 per cent prefer a full-day return while 16 per cent prefer a half-day model, citing a balance between safety and learning.

The survey also indicated that the number of children expected to travel to school by bus for the new term will only decrease marginally, with 40 per cent of parents saying they plan to avail of the services, down from 46 per cent in the 2019/20 academic year.

It also found that at least 85 per cent of both expat and Emirati families do not intend to move their children to a new school.

“We are committed to ensuring the safest possible return to in-classroom education for students and teachers and the guidelines, aligned with global best practice, take into account every aspect of school operations,” said Amer Al Hammadi, ADEK undersecretary.

“We fully understand that parents still harbour some concerns about a safe return to school and we want to reiterate that distance learning provisions remain in place for all schools, irrespective of the reopening model they choose. As we continue to assess different scenarios and models for the new academic year, we remain in constant dialogue with federal and local authorities to ensure the health and wellbeing of all students, faculty, and staff.”

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