Abu Dhabi approves school-based learning for the 2021/2022 school year
ABU DHABI – The Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Committee has approved the physical return of students to schools for the 2021/2022 school year.
The decision came following consultation and collaboration with parents, teachers, principals and school operators in Abu Dhabi, conducted in May and June of this year.
Ensuring a safe return to school is an integral part of Abu Dhabi’s long-term strategy for recovery, which puts the health and safety of the community at the forefront of all decisions, and reflects the success of the emirate’s handling of the pandemic so far.
The back-to-school strategy aligns with international best practices and involves all key stakeholders including the school community, health authorities, Abu Dhabi Ministry of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) and all other relevant government authorities.
Sara Musallam, President of ADEK, said: “The pandemic has tested the resolve of teachers, parents and school staff, our unsung heroes, who have come together and gone to incredible lengths to ensure that our children are receiving the best possible education during these difficult times. We are grateful to the Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Committee for ensuring that planning for the 2021/2022 school year includes all stakeholders. Although we believe that distance learning is not a perfect substitute for physical learning, we need to make sure that everyone feels comfortable returning to teaching in school as much as possible. As part of the consultation, ADEK conducted an independent inquiry into the reopening of schools to help inform decision making for the upcoming school year.
Over 117,000 parents representing over 230,000 students in public, private and charter schools, including both UAE nationals and expatriates, participated in the parent survey on the reopening of schools . About 70 percent of students are expected to return to learning at school, with 88 percent of parents saying it was more beneficial for their child’s education.
Parents also believe that vaccination will further boost their confidence in safe schools. Currently, the Pfizer vaccine is available for children 12 years of age and older. A Sinopharm Immune Bridging Study for Children was recently launched in the United Arab Emirates to examine the immune response to the vaccine in children aged 3 to 17, with the emirate planning to make the vaccine available to children in a near future.
The study also shows that parents are comfortable reducing physical distancing requirements, which will allow students to attend school more days per week.
The committee stressed the importance of coordination between schools in the emirate and ADEK to ensure that schools are ready to receive students of all levels at the start of the school year. ADEK will continue to work with the school community and the health authority and will update the school reopening protocols very soon. Operational protocols for schools linked to Covid-19 will be published by August 15.
The committee also approved the offer of optional full-time distance learning to parents who request it, if their child’s school offers it.
The committee noted that physical return to schools would be continuously monitored and evaluated to ensure the continued safety of the school community, and that it depends on the cooperation of the entire school community to monitor precautionary measures aimed at ensuring the safety of the school community. protect the health and safety of students, teachers and school staff.
© Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2021.