Abu Dhabi: Nurseries, schools to face penalties upto Dhs250,000 for flouting Covid-19 protocols
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Abu Dhabi: Nurseries, schools to face penalties upto Dhs250,000 for flouting Covid-19 protocols

Abu Dhabi: Nurseries, schools to face penalties upto Dhs250,000 for flouting Covid-19 protocols

Repeated non-compliance can lead to schools being forced to shift to distance learning, with parents entitled to remove their children and gain fee refunds

ABu Dhabi Schools Covid-19 Tests

Nurseries and schools in Abu Dhabi will be fined between Dhs10,000 to Dhs250,000 for violating Covid-19 precautionary measures, the emirate’s education regulator has confirmed.

The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) inspected all schools across the emirate last August and issued NOCs to 220 compliant institutions to open. However, it will continue regular inspections of all schools and nurseries to ensure ongoing compliance to Covid-19 prevention protocols and to secure the safety of all staff, pupils, and parents.

As of February 21, ADEK has conducted inspections at 221 schools reopening for in-classroom education and 119 operational nurseries.

“We have to put the safety of our community first and ongoing inspections are vital to ensure parents have confidence in the safety protocols of our schools and nurseries,” explained Amer Al Hammadi, undersecretary of ADEK.

The inspections track compliance across a range of 62 criteria, including adherence to social distancing protocols; the existence of on-premise Covid-19 taskforces; regular cleaning and disinfection programmes; regular Covid-19 testing of staff and students aged 12 years and above; regulated classroom numbers, PPE equipment standards, and daily routine checks conducted by a nominated school compliance officer to ensure safety regulations are being followed.

Students aged 12 and above at private schools in Abu Dhabi need to undergo a compulsory Covid-19 PCR test should they opt to return to their campus, ADEK announced last week.

Read: Free mandatory Covid-19 PCR tests for students returning to school in Abu Dhabi

Based on inspections, non-compliant nurseries can be immediately moved to distance learning for a week, or fined. However, repeated non-compliance can lead to schools being forced to shift to distance learning, with parents entitled to remove their children from the school and gain fee refunds.

“Our sincere hope is that none of these penalties will have to be exacted,” added Al Hammadi. “We have confidence in our school and nursery communities and their desire to adhere to the regulations for the safety of all.”

In-school extracurricular activities remain suspended, with light athletic activities only allowed outdoors during normal scheduled PE classes and under social distancing rules.

In addition, parents are allowed to enter school premises providing they show a negative PCR test result with 96-hour validity or demonstrate ‘emergency use’ status on their Al Hosn app.

School tours for new and prospective parents may also resume, while class sizes have been scaled to a maximum of 30 students with 1.5 metre social distancing and compulsory face masks for Grade 1 and above. For kindergarten, class size is capped at 25 students with 1.5 metre social distancing. Bubbles for younger children remain at a maximum of 10 students, in addition to a dedicated teaching team.

The UAE’s Ministry of Education, meanwhile, has already directed educational authorities in four emirates – Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain and Ajman – to shift all students in schools and nurseries to 100 per cent e-learning as a measure to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Read: Ras Al Khaimah becomes UAE’s fourth emirate to shift to 100% distance learning

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