Dubai-based GEMS Education’s network of schools is implementing robust health and safety measures in the run-up to the reopening of their campuses.
All GEMS schools are working with accredited health and safety service providers, covering areas such as food handling, deep cleaning, school transportation and staff accommodation to prepare for the eventual return of students, parents and staff.
GEMS Education schools are undergoing regular deep cleaning and disinfection using hospital-grade anti-viral disinfectants, following which, a special antimicrobial product is applied that can provide surface protection for up to four weeks. Additional measures include repeated fumigation of all air conditioning vents.
The health and safety team is also reviewing additional measures to enhance the safety of people coming into school, such as the potential use of sanitisation tunnels at main entrances as well as IP thermal cameras for enhanced temperature checking.
All staff involved in cleaning and sanitisation are required to wear full personal protective equipment, having received training that meets global and relevant local standards.
Paul Slater, vice president – operations and health, safety and environment at GEMS Education, said: “The safety of our students, parents, teachers and staff is of utmost importance and remains our top priority. Our preparations for reopening schools are already well underway. We have been meticulously reviewing practices across Europe and Asia to ensure we apply only the best global standards. We have a team of dedicated health and safety professionals, both centrally and at a school level, who are working tirelessly to ensure we continue to follow the best, most up to date health and safety standards.
“We have also implemented additional layers of health and safety measures to ensure the well-being and protection of all our students, teachers, staff and parents. These enhance our existing health and safety management system that is ISO 45001 certified, which is regarded as the global standard for health and safety management systems. In addition, we have a number of compliance checks in place as part of our ISO 45001 certification programme, which includes ongoing annual third-party audits.”
The UAE has issued guidelines earlier this month on the reopening of educational institutions across the country later this year. Protocols include temperature checks, frequent sterilisation, physical distancing and reducing bus capacities, among others.
In March, the UAE implemented remote learning programmes across all schools and universities in the country in what was seen as a precautionary measure to combat the spread of the Covid-19 infection.
The summer vacations for public and private schools that follow that Ministry of Education’s curriculum will begin on July 2.