UAE: Weekly PCR tests for unvaccinated children above 12, distance learning to remain optional
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UAE: Weekly PCR tests for unvaccinated children aged above 12, distance learning to remain optional

UAE: Weekly PCR tests for unvaccinated children aged above 12, distance learning to remain optional

The new protocol will be activated 30 days after schools reopen, thereby giving an opportunity to all unvaccinated students to receive the vaccine

The UAE has announced a new set of precautionary operating measures for all educational facilities, including nurseries, child care centers, public and private schools, public and private higher education facilities, and training centers and institutes.

By virtue of the new directive, unvaccinated students from the age of 12 and over must undergo weekly PCR tests if they attend classes on their campuses. Parents will be required to download the Alhosn app for their children and must print the certificates, which should be carried by the children to school.

The new protocol will be activated 30 days after schools reopen thereby giving an opportunity to all unvaccinated students to receive the jab. During this period, all vaccinated and unvaccinated students must conduct a PCR tests every two weeks. After the 30-day period, all unvaccinated students under the age of 12, and vaccinated students over 12, must undergo a PCR test every month. Unvaccinated students over 12 will be required to take a weekly PCR test.

The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) said on Sunday that distance learning will continue to remain optional across all age groups of students in the country as educational institutions prepare to open for the upcoming academic year later this month.

The NCEMA added that the vaccination rates among educational staff had reached had reached 86 per cent, and it stood at 84 per cent among administrative and technical staff. Schools must implement physical distancing protocols and distribute students in groups to prevent overcrowding.

All educational establishments have been drafting a “School Readiness” plan, which aims to facilitate the return of students and includes precautionary requirements and procedures established by health authorities.

Students, teachers and educational cadres are required to sign a health declaration form confirming they do not have Covid-19 and have not been exposed to any positive cases. Educational establishments should be informed about anyone with chronic or immunity disease, and these individuals must make sure they are not exposed to any Covid-19 patients for at least two weeks before the start of school.

“We also announce the formation of action teams in educational establishments, known as the ‘Health and Safety Committee’, which will monitor all activities to guarantee the implementation of the health and precautionary measures adopted in the country,” said Dr. Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson for the UAE Health Sector.

Educational establishments will allocate a room for quarantine, and they must manage the entry and exit process at their gates, as well as prevent overcrowding during classes and break times while enforcing a one-metre social distancing rule.

Regarding transportation services to and from educational establishments, Dr Farida said that buses must adhere to all safety requirements and the student capacity guidelines of relevant authorities to ensure the health and safety of students in school buses. She cautioned that if the directives were violated, appropriate punishments will be applied.

“We have completed a year-and-a half of distance learning, and the education sector has proven its success in continuing, despite the pandemic. Today, our role is key to maintaining this success and ensuring the return to normalcy. It is important to prepare students for physical attendance in schools,” added Dr Farida.

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