Photo used for illustrative purposes.
Imran Mojib, Special Correspondent
Students in Dubai and Sharjah returned to schools on Sunday after a three-week winter break, however, students in Abu Dhabi will have to wait for two weeks, before attending class in-person.
It was a welcome sign to see the school buses plying the roads once again, albeit the vehicles were half full to maintain the physical distancing measures advised by the authorities.
Signage were placed in schools reminding students to maintain social distancing, wear the mask and practice hand sanitasation in order to stay safe while attending the class in-person.
The three weeks of winter vacation was used by school management to sanitise the campus as well as buses and make other preparations to ensure safety for staff and students, who returned to on-campus schooling on Sunday.
Schools in Sharjah were also ready to welcome students for in-person classes, despite the fact that the education authorities in the emirate had allowed parents to choose the mode of education for their ward —in-person, hybrid or remote learning.
Last week, the Sharjah Private Education Authority had announced that all private schools and educational institutions were ready to receive students upon school reopening, but the authority also granted parents the option to choose the mode of education.
The authority had instructed all private schools affiliated to it to notify the parents about choosing the education system through SMS or emails.
Again on Sunday, the Authority issued a statement on its Instagram account. “As the new term begins, you can either attend school or continue with online classes. Whichever one you choose, we would like to wish you all a safe and productive year of learning and growing,” it stated.
Tenth and 12th grade students of Indian schools, preparing to appear for board exams, were excited to return to school as they wanted face-to-face interaction with teachers. India’s Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will be conducting Class 10th and 12th board exams from May 4 to June 10.
The opportunity to attend the class in-person gives students a chance to be in the school for some time before they sit for their board exams as that will help them acclimatise themselves. It was necessary for students as they have been attending online classes for an extended period of time, while the examinations will ultimately be held with pen and paper.
Students in Abu Dhabi will return to schools on Jan.17, as the Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee, in coordination with Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge, has approved remote learning for the first two weeks of the new school term.
“The decision applies to all students at both public and private schools in the emirate and was made to protect the health and safety of students, teachers and school staff,” stated the Government of Abu Dhabi Media Office on its Tweeter account. The authorities have also instructed that all students, teachers and school staff returning to the UAE from international travel through any of the country’s airports or ports must adhere to quarantine measures implemented in Abu Dhabi emirate.
The KHDA tweeted on Friday, “Because of the help and cooperation of parents, educators and students, PE classes, gatherings, trips and extracurricular activities will be resumed as of Jan.31.”
Government and private schools following the curriculum of the Ministry of Education, kindergartens and adult education likely received more than 1,119,000 students on Sunday.
To provide parents, students and staff members in private schools in Dubai with an effective and convenient mechanism to address COVID-19 related queries, the Dubai Health Authority has launched a dedicated 24/7 back-to-school helpline at phone number 800588.
The launch of this service reinforces the authority’s commitment to provide effective communication channels to the community, offering timely and accurate health information.
While schools and classrooms might not look and operate quite the same as earlier in the year, given the numerous health and safety measures in place, students and teachers were still visibly pleased to be reunited and learning together once more.
The Ministry, on Saturday, on its official twitter account said, “In view of the announcement by the health authorities in the Federal Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea of monitoring outbreaks of "Marburg" virus, and based on the Ministry's concern for the safety of the country's citizens, the Ministry advises to postpone travel to the Federal Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea in this period.”
Environmental activists threw black liquid into the waters of a Roman fountain in Piazza di Spagna in the Italian capital, Rome, during a protest in which they spoke of the "end of the world" scenario.
They also do not know how to draw the attention of passersby to help them, which puts them at serious risks including death.