Abu Dhabi: Covid-19 vaccine mandatory for students aged 16 and over to enter schools
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Abu Dhabi: Covid-19 vaccine mandatory for students aged 16 and over to enter schools

Abu Dhabi: Covid-19 vaccine mandatory for students aged 16 and over to enter schools

The rule is also applicable to staff and visitors, who must be fully vaccinated with a UAE approved vaccine to access the school’s premises

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Starting August 20, students aged 16 and above must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to be allowed entry to schools in Abu Dhabi.

The decision comes in the wake of new policies issued by the Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee.

“The policies mean all pupils aged 16 and above, as well as staff and all visitors, must be fully vaccinated with a UAE approved vaccine to access the school premises, whether within or outside school hours. The vaccinations must be verified on the Alhosn app prior to returning to school at the start of the academic year,” said Amer Al Hammadi, undersecretary of the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK).

Students and school staff with vaccination exemptions can enter school premises provided the exemption is verified on the Alhosn app or through an official letter from a Department of Health-Abu Dhabi authorised vaccination provider such as SEHA or Mubadala Health, according to state-run news agency WAM.

Students who will turn 16 after schools reopen and who wish to continue face-to-face learning in school, must receive a first dose of a UAE-approved vaccine within four weeks of their birthday, with a confirmation of it displayed on their Alhosn app.

ADEK said that it is collaborating with Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Public Health Center, Mubadala Health and Yas Mall to help students get vaccinated at a pop-up vaccination center from August 3-7 and August 24-28. Yas Mall pop-up vaccination center is part of efforts to encourage students aged 12 and above, including university students, to receive a Pfizer- BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. Students can also get a Covid-19 vaccine at any official vaccination center in Abu Dhabi.

ADEK also confirmed special arrangements will be made for students aged 16 and above who have not been vaccinated to sit critical exams in school, while student over 16 and staff who are new to the emirate will be given a grace period to complete their vaccination.

Read: Children aged 3-17 in UAE can now receive the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine

ADEK on Monday issued an updated list of precautionary measures and guidelines for private and charter schools students in Abu Dhabi who will resume their academic year next month.

Schools will continue operating macrobubbles for the new academic year to reduce the risk and magnitude of Covid-19 transmissions among school groups and reduce shifts to distance learning.

Class bubble sizes for younger students in Kindergarten and Cycle 1 (Grade 2/Year 3 and below) who do not practice social distancing has been increased from 10 to 16 students per bubble.

Communal areas vital to interaction and socialisation will reopen, including play areas for younger students. Cooking will be permitted as long as food is served by designated staff members and as per Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority regulations.

Students are also set to resume Physical Education (P.E.) classes and sports including swimming with special arrangements and adaptations based on risk assessment, with schools required to sanitise recreational areas and equipment between groups.

Extracurricular activities for the school’s students will also resume, providing schools complete a risk assessment and implement safe operation policies, including physical distancing and mask-wearing. The rental of school sports facilities to outside parties remains suspended.

Within school premises, physical distancing will be scaled down to one meter within classrooms and throughout school grounds enabling increased classroom capacities.

“Our priority is to ensure as many students get the chance to enjoy quality face-to-face learning, which is vital for their intellectual, physical and social-emotional development and wellbeing. We will constantly review the policies to ensure all possible measures are in place to keep our educators, students and communities safe,” said Sara Musallam, chairperson of ADEK.

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