Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 27 September 2020

Sharjah authorities discuss plans to reopen schools

The UAE’s new academic year will start on August 30

Last year 46 per cent of pupils used school buses while 40 per cent pupils would be using this service this year. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Last year 46 per cent of pupils used school buses while 40 per cent pupils would be using this service this year. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Authorities in Sharjah are considering three potential scenarios as they look to organise schooling in the emirate over the next academic year.

At an online meeting on Monday, officials from Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA) debated the best way forward for pupils and staff.

One possibility will be that remote learning continues from September if the coronavirus pandemic is still considered a threat.

A second scenario will involve pupils being taught via a mixture of classroom learning and online programmes, while a third would see all pupils return to school as normal.

“SPEA has held a virtual meeting with the private schools board of directors in Sharjah to discuss preparations for the academic year 2020-2021,” a statement said.

“The attendees studied three future scenarios that were presented by the schools' board of directors after studying Sharjah schools' opinions and proposed provisions in preparation of the first term which starts in September.

“Provisions included the continuation of remote learning in case Covid-19 still exists, a provision of “merging between direct learning and virtual learning” through returning to learning in schools with a capacity no more than 50 per cent for each school.”

The SPEA meeting was headed by Dr Mohditha Al Hashimi, chair of the SPEA, and attended by Ali Al Hosani, director of SPEA.

Under the second possible scenario, only 50 per cent of pupils from each school would be allowed to return at any one time, with the remainder continuing online learning.

Schools would also continue to take precautionary measures such as limiting gatherings and ensuring pupils maintained social distancing.

Alison Rego, 37, from India, said she would be happy to send her seven-year-old daughter back to school in Sharjah in September if numbers of coronavirus cases were decreasing.

She said she would be comfortable sending her child back for a few days a week and would re-evaluate if schools resumed a normal timetable.

“If I am sending my child to school for only 50 per cent of the time, I expect that the school would only charge me 50 per cent of the fees,” she said.

“If I am only sending my child to school for half the time, how can I be expected to pay the entire amount?

“I have not re-registered my daughter at her school and I will evaluate the situation in August and make a decision.

"If the number of coronavirus cases is on the rise at that time, I would not want to send my child to school."

Updated: June 15, 2020 06:44 PM

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