Schools in Abu Dhabi will be offering only remote learning for the first two weeks of the new school term starting from Sunday.
On December 30, the Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee, in coordination with Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge, announced the decision of online learning with an aim to “protect the health and safety of students, teachers and school staff”.
Since December 21, public and private schools had availed of the free Covid-19 PCR testing for students aged 12 years and above to be able to physically attend face-to-face classes of the new term. Educational institutes had implemented all the precautionary measures to resume classes at all levels. But given the new and evolving circumstances, schools have welcomed the call for remote learning.
This means, Indian schools will have to reschedule their CBSE pre-board exams. Institutes like Abu Dhabi Indian School (ADIS) had initially planned to hold pre-board exams from Monday.
“The physical exams for Grade 12 were to start from January 4. I have more than 300 students appearing in Grade 12 exams. They didn’t have a single writing practice in a proper classroom exam environment. So, I have to give my children such a practice. But we will have to postpone it. We made them go through the Covid-19 tests (to physically attend exams in classes). All children will have to again take a Covid-19 test,” said ADIS Principal Neeraj Bhargava.
He termed the two-week remote learning as a “thoughtful decision” by the local authorities.
“Health is the top priority and concern for everybody. This decision has been taken keeping in mind the health concerns. We respect the move.”
Dr Thakur Mulchandani, Principal, Sunrise English Private School, hoped that children will be back in classrooms from January 17.
“We are waiting to welcome the kids back. They are the heart of the school.” Mulchandani underlined that the majority of the parents continue to opt for distance learning.
“We have 2,850 students. Around 200 students have opted for face-to-face classes.”
The situation is similar at the other institutes too with parents being reluctant to send their children to school.
“I was thinking of sending my child to school now but not with the scare of a new Covid-19 strain. So, three more weeks of online learning is the best decision at the moment,” a father of a student said.
School heads pointed out that the majority of the pupils haven’t gone abroad during the winter break. Even those who are returning from abroad can easily complete their quarantine period, depending on whether or not they are flying in from a ‘green’ country.