Abu Dhabi says schools with high student vaccination rates can gradually relax Covid-19 measures
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Abu Dhabi says schools with high student vaccination rates can gradually relax Covid-19 measures

Abu Dhabi says schools with high student vaccination rates can gradually relax Covid-19 measures

According to ADEK, all staff and students aged 16 and above currently attending Abu Dhabi’s private and charter schools have been vaccinated

Abu Dhabi schools

Abu Dhabi has confirmed that schools in the emirate with high student vaccination rates will be permitted to gradually relax Covid-19 measures and return to normal operations.

The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) has issued a policy to regulate the implementation of the ‘Blue Schools’ initiative for private and charter schools, which was recently approved by Abu Dhabi Emergency Crisis and Disasters Committee for Covid-19 pandemic.

The initiative will be implemented from Term 2 of the current academic year

The policy provides a comprehensive framework for the initiative, including a guide on the formula used to calculate student vaccination rates, how privileges will be applied to schools, in addition to mandates for schools on anti-discrimination policies against unvaccinated students, a statement said.

Read: Abu Dhabi links relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions in schools to student vaccination rates

Under the initiative, as vaccination rates increase within a school community, a school will advance through the four colour-coded tiers: orange, yellow, green, and blue, and will enjoy additional privileges per tier. Orange represents schools with less than 50 per cent of students vaccinated; yellow for schools with 50-64 per cent of students vaccinated; green for schools with 65-84 per cent of students vaccinated; and blue for schools with 85 per cent and above students vaccinated.

The school-wide incentives range from relaxation of physical distancing, gradual school closures, and mask-wearing protocols, and will allow for increases in classroom and bus capacity, the reintroduction of field trips, on-campus events, and extra-curricular activities including team and contact sports, as well as inter and intra-school sports competitions.

According to ADEK, all staff and students aged 16 and above currently attending Abu Dhabi’s private and charter schools have been vaccinated, leaving students under 16 as the “only primarily unvaccinated group since vaccination for this category remains voluntary according to government protocols”.

The Blue Schools initiative “recognises vaccination as the key path to recovery and encourages immunisation of this remaining group, increasing their protection against Covid-19 and minimising the impact of possible infections,” the statement added.

Amer Al Hammadi, ADEK undersecretary said: “Our policy is designed to enable an efficient and effective implementation of the Blue Schools initiative and provides full transparency to our education community as we strive to see schools return to normalcy at the earliest opportunity.

“The policy mandates schools to establish clear anti-discrimination and anti-stigmatisation guidelines in line with the values of the UAE. Schools are strictly prohibited from requiring the mandatory vaccination of students below the age of 16,” he added.

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