Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 15 July 2020

Sharjah private schools prepare for September return

Strict safety measures will be imposed under back-to-school plans

Sharjah's private schools regulator is assessing plans for a September return to the classroom. Pawan Singh / The National
Sharjah's private schools regulator is assessing plans for a September return to the classroom. Pawan Singh / The National

Sharjah's private education regulator has paved the way for the return of school pupils to classrooms in September.

Schools across the emirate closed their doors in March as part of efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19, with teachers conducting lessons remotely in the following months.

The Ministry of Education confirmed last week it was drawing up plans to allow for schools to reopen safely in time for the new academic year.

Among ideas under discussion were smaller classroom numbers, pupil temperature checks, a ban on sharing food and a 30 per cent cap on school bus passengers.

Officials in Sharjah confirmed they would enforce these precautionary measures and would mandate schools to appoint an experienced health and safety officer in addition to a licensed nursing staff to ensure regulations were being followed.

Maintenance staff would also not be allowed into schools during the day under the strategy.

“These procedures apply to all private schools with no exceptions,” said Dr Muhadditha Al Hashimi, head of SPEA.

“The authority is aware how mechanisms of implementing these procedures may differ from one school to another based on factors like school size but we trust our schools will be able to come up with best solutions during these tough times.

"We have held meetings with all private schools in the emirate to listen to their suggestions and opinions regarding the return of pupils to classes and we will keep a direct contact with them to ensure precautionary measures are implemented once pupils are back."

She added that inspections will be conducted to ensure schools are prepared to welcome pupils while regular inspections will be carried out after their return to make sure safety rules are followed.

The authority said it was reviewing options for how the new school year will look, ranging from a 100 per cent return to the classroom to a gradual return to 50 per cent capacity.

Continuing distance learning for all pupils will also be considered as part of the proposals.

Updated: June 29, 2020 05:43 PM

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