Dubai government issues protocols on reopening schools - GulfToday

Dubai government issues protocols on reopening schools


This photo is used for illustrative purpose.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

The health and safety of students and staff at Dubai’s private schools take top priority in new protocols just released by the Government of Dubai. 

The protocols govern the reopening of schools in the new academic year, and include specific criteria related to physical distancing and school buses, among others.

Mohammed Darwish, CEO of Permits and Compliance Sector at KHDA said: "The protocols are in place to make sure there’s a consistent and effective approach to keeping everyone at school safe and healthy once schools reopen next academic year. We understand that each school is different – the protocols give each school a starting point to think about what works best for their community and the context of their school.”

The protocols cover different areas of school operations, such as:

  • Entry, pick-up and school visit procedures
  • Screening and contact tracing
  • Physical distancing arrangements
  • School buses and transportation

“We’ll be working closely with school leaders over the summer to make sure that they have all the information and support they need as they adjust to new ways of operating.  Keeping students, teachers and school staff safe when schools open again is the responsibility of all of us, and it’s important we continue working together to make sure that the experience is a safe and happy one for everyone involved,” Darwish added.

Here is the list of full guidelines:

Protocols for reopening schools

1- What are the protocols about?

The protocols have been developed by the Government of Dubai. They’re in place to make sure there’s a consistent and effective approach to keeping everyone at school safe and healthy once schools open again in September.


2- What’s included in the protocols?

The protocols cover different areas of school operations, such as:

The protocols are shared on this page. We encourage you to read them to understand how your children’s school will be protecting their health and safety.

3- Will all schools have to comply with the protocols?

Yes. All schools will have to comply with the protocols, but they have the freedom to implement them according to their own contexts. For example, some schools may hold more outdoor classes to maintain physical distancing, while others may continue to offer online learning to some students.

Each school will be different – please contact your child’s school directly to ask how they will be implementing the protocols.

4- What if the situation changes?

The protocols, and the way that schools implement them, will likely change as the days and weeks go by. Your school will keep you updated of any changes that affect your children. We also update our FAQs regularly.

5- Do the protocols apply to universities as well?

The current protocols apply to private schools in Dubai only. Adapted protocols will be released for Dubai universities soon. Please keep an eye on our FAQs for updates.

Reopening of schools in the academic year 2020/21

FAQs for Parents

1- Will schools and universities be open to students in the new academic year?

Schools and universities will be allowed to open and operate from the start of the 2020/21 academic year, provided they comply with specific health and safety protocols.

2- Will nurseries and early learning centres be opening in the new academic year also?

Currently, no announcement has been made about the opening date for nurseries and early learning centres. We’ll update these FAQs as soon as this changes. All early learning provision currently operating within schools can open.

3- What health and safety conditions will schools have to follow in the new academic year?

Maintaining health and safety is everyone’s responsibility. Conditions to protect students and staff include:

  • Screening all students and staff for temperature at entry point to the school
  • Maintaining physical distance guidelines as recommended by the relevant health authorities and reducing the head-count capacity in classrooms.
  • Limiting gatherings and suspending group activities such as school celebrations, and sports events;
  • Organizing and managing the students’ working day including mealtimes to avoid high concentrations of students in one place.
  • Sterilising the school building, classrooms, laboratories and other facilities regularly;
  • Ensuring that support & maintenance service staff do not enter the school when students and staff are present
  • Appointing a trained health and safety official to ensure that people and processes in the school comply with health and safety protocol.

4-Will school be the same as it was before the pandemic?

For the foreseeable future, schools will have to comply with health and safety guidelines to protect everyone against infection. These mean that school may not look or feel the same as before the pandemic.

Each school will have its own way of complying with the health and safety protocols. Your child’s school will communicate these with you as soon as possible.

5- Will all schools be open to all students?

Schools in Dubai differ in terms of size, location and number of students. In order to comply with health and safety guidelines, schools may choose models that best suit their circumstances and community. These can include:

  • Being open to all students all the time
  • Continuing to do distance learning part-time
  • Scheduling lessons in staggered ‘shifts’
  • Other creative solutions

We ask schools to consult with parents, teachers and students when choosing the best model for them.

6- Will children still do PE and other physical activities?

Physical education classes will continue. For the time being, swimming pools will be closed.

7- Can school events still go ahead?

School-wide events and activities such as assemblies, sports days, international days or performances are not allowed to go ahead for now.

8- How will this affect school fees?

School fees remain unchanged for the next academic year. We ask schools and parents to come together in the best interests of children to ensure that learning continues.

9- I feel nervous about sending my kids back to school – what can I do?

We know that returning to school could be a worrisome time for parents and students. Schools will be following specific health and safety guidelines to protect students and staff. If you feel nervous about sending your children to school, please speak with the school to learn more about how they’re approaching health and safety, and what you can do to play your part. Being safe at school is everyone’s responsibility.

10- Can I choose to keep my children at home until I feel it’s safe?

Each school will be offering different options for learning in the new academic year, in consultation with parents. Please check with your child’s school to see what options are available to you.

11- Will buses be operating?

Buses will be able to operate at  30% capacity, and must also comply with health and safety protocols. These include:

  • Taking the temperatures of all passengers boarding the bus
  • Keeping windows open as much as possible
  • Disinfecting handles, rails and other frequently used areas of the bus

FAQs for Schools

12. What kind of advice should we expect to receive from government authorities?

Government authorities will be providing schools with up-to-date health and safety protocols. As each school is different (in terms of size, capacity and resources), they are free to decide how best to comply with these guidelines, depending on their own context.

13. How do we decide which model is best for us?

We ask schools to consult with staff and parents to make the best decisions for them. The most important considerations are children’s health and safety, and ensuring that all children receive the best learning experience possible given the circumstances. As long as these two conditions are satisfied, schools are free to decide on their own operations model.

Depending on school size and resources, some schools may use existing spaces differently, or restructure classes and schedules, or consider a blended model that includes distance learning.

14. We’ve decided on how we’re going to open – what do we do now?

The KHDA team will be in contact with each school to determine next steps.

15. KHDA has approved our operations model for the new academic year, but we’d like to make small changes. Do we have to ask for approval again?

This depends on the changes you’d like to make. Please email our team for guidance.

16. School staff are nervous about returning. What can we do?

The first few days and weeks of the academic year will be a sensitive time for many parents, students and school staff. We ask schools to prioritise emotional and mental health during this time, as well as physical health and safety. Everyone has a part to play in keeping the community safe.

17. Will school inspections carry on as usual in the new academic year?

Our current priority is a safe transition back to school for all students and staff. We will send updates and schedules about school inspections as soon as we can.

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