x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Schools across Dubai to close on Thursday due to cycling event

Due to the closure of major roads for Dubai Tour, more than 35 schools in the emirate decided to close their doors to ensure pupils are safe.

DUBAI // More than 35 schools will be shut on Thursday to avoid pupils being stuck in traffic as major roads are closed for the Dubai Tour cycle race.

The four-day race, the opening event on the International Cycling Union’s Asia Tour, began on Wednesday with a 10-kilometre time trial in Downtown Dubai.

But on Thursday the world’s top riders will race around the city, taking in many landmarks.

“The tour passes through Oud Metha Road and there is just no other way our students can come to school,” said Ashok Kumar, chief executive of the Indian High School, Dubai.

“Keeping the safety of our children in mind and that transport will be an issue, we have decided to shut down. We consulted our parents before closing.”

The school has rescheduled some of its examinations for Sunday.

Dubai Gem Private School, in the same area, will also close. “On the advice of the transport department and to avoid inconveniencing the students, we thought it’s better to shut down,” said a spokesman. “We sent out text messages to all our parents.”

Dubai’s education regulator, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, urged schools to keep in mind children’s safety and use their discretion on whether to cancel classes.

The KHDA said schools such as Mirdif Private School were opting to dismiss classes early, while the International School of Choueifat will close only its primary section.

Not all schools on the tour’s route have opted to close, preferring to avoid inconveniencing parents and children missing out on classes.

“We have advised our schools to carry on as usual,” said Clive Pierrepont, director of communications at the Taleem group of schools.

“We do sympathise with parents who are working and cannot make arrangements for child care at the last minute. Besides, disruption adds another day to the calendar and schools will have to add an additional day to make up. The most sensible thing to do is to let parents make their own minds up.”

Saeed Hareb, chief of Dubai Tour’s organising committee, hoped residents would help to make the country’s first Pro Tour cycling event a success.

“This is the first year here, so some of the residents might feel a bit inconvenienced, but I am sure they will understand and we will show the world that Dubai is ready to host top cycling events.”

pkannan@thenational.ae