A million back in UAE schools with focus on safety of students
The new school year 2022/2023 kicked off on Monday, with nearly one million students and 65,000 teachers, administrators, workers and others in public and private schools, across the country, a report issued by the Emirates News Agency (WAM) said.
This new school year has begun with an updated protocol regarding the preventive measures with a view to preserving safety of students and all who work in the educational sector, and the country's great successes in combating spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
Negative result of COVID-19 PCR test for a period no longer than 96 hours has been mandated for all students from 12 years and above, educational and administrative staff, and service providers from the first school day. No periodic tests will be required, unless symptoms related to COVID-19 emerged on a person, then a test will be required, according to the updated protocol.
Wearing facemask inside closed spaces remained obligatory, with the option of distance learning and working remotely for students and administrative and educational staff infected with Covid-19 or those who suffer from respiratory symptoms until a medical examination is performed. Moreover, bus drivers and supervisors must adhere to public safety measures in terms of wearing facemask and sterilising hands.
FREE PCR TESTS
On the other hand, the Emirates Schools Establishment (ESE) provided 226 centres in government schools for providing free COVID-19 PCR test for students, including 189 in Dubai and the northern emirates. The centers operated according to a specific schedule, from Aug.25 to 28, serving 65,269 students from 191 schools and more than 12,000 from educational staff members.
While in Abu Dhabi, it was coordinated with the Department of Health and the Department of Education and Knowledge, to provide 37 centres in government schools distributed in various regions of the capital, along with 738 centres allocated to offer the PCR test service in Abu Dhabi, the report added.
The ESE has begun the new academic year by various training workshops, targeting 22,557 teachers and administrators, as these workshops will continue throughout the year, to ensure developing and providing them with the latest methods.
It also provided 857 new interactive display devices to schools, while all curricula are available electronically on the Al Diwan platform. It will also distribute 4,103,960 textbooks and 25,434 computers, the report said.
In the same context, the flexibility of the Back-to-School policy contributed to making the first hours of study a happily family event, as most of the country’s schools witnessed a remarkable participation and presence from parents, which turned the event into a family celebration.
Earlier, on Friday, the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources (FAHR) issued a circular to all ministries and federal authorities on the "Back to School" policy adopted by the UAE Cabinet and launched by the federal government.
The circular aimed to improve the quality of life of employees and raise their satisfaction levels, as well as achieve balance in their social and professional lives.
In its circular No.10 for 2022, FAHR urged ministries and federal authorities to enable their employees to benefit from the flexibility of the Back-to-School policy, to help prepare mothers and fathers working for the federal government for the start of the school year and enable them to accompany their children to schools and nurseries.
The policy also stipulates that mothers and fathers working for the federal government and having children in schools must have the flexibility to take their children to school in the morning, whether by issuing a morning delay permit or an early departure permit on the first day of school for a maximum of three hours.
Concerning mothers and fathers who work for the federal government and have children in nurseries, they may be given a morning delay permit for a maximum of three hours during the first week of the school year.
‘Safe Traffic for School Students’
The policy also allows flexible working hours for employees on days of parent meetings, as well as a three-hour leave permit to attend graduation parties, events and school activities.
For its part, the Ministry of Interior, represented by the Federal Traffic Council, to ensure safety of students, launched the fourth traffic awareness campaign for this year under the slogan "Safe Traffic for School Students," in conjunction with the beginning of the new school year. It will continue for three months.
The move comes as part of the traffic directorate’s initiatives that aim to unite all efforts to educate school students of different educational levels, especially children, about traffic accidents, and to stress the need to adhere to traffic rules to protect students from road hazards.
As part of the campaign, the Security Media Department at the Ministry of Interior has dispatched a number of awareness messages for school students of different educational levels, which will be also disseminated through social media to raise their awareness of the most important tips and guidelines to maintain their safety from road accidents during the trips to and from school.