Abu Dhabi outlines 'back to school' safety measures

Abu Dhabi Media Office (file picture)

The Abu Dhabi Department of Education & Knowledge (ADEK) has announced its protocols for the gradual return to face-to-face learning for private and charter school students.

From January 24, all students in KG 1 to Grade 5/ FS1 to Year 6 and those in Grade 12/ Year 13 will be permitted to return to school.

Students who are studying for international exams will also be allowed to return to campus to ensure continuity of learning and preparedness.

All others will be permitted to resume in-classroom learning from January 31.

ADEK also confirmed that the option for distance learning will remain in place throughout the term; however, parents are required to inform the school of their preference and the chosen model must be adhered to for the remainder of term one.

All external school trips and activities will be suspended until further notice, while sports and cultural activities will be permitted in full adherence to health and safety measures.

Students, teachers, and school staff who have recently returned from overseas travel will be required to sign a travel declaration form, with those returning to the UAE within two weeks of their entry to school required to submit negative PCR test results taken on day one and day six from their return date.

All students, teachers and employees must present a 96-hour negative PCR test result before returning to campus.

To ensure a safe return to school, all Private and Charter School students aged three years and above - regardless of vaccination status and inclusive of Students of Determination - must produce a negative PCR or saliva test result valid for 96 hours before resuming in-person classes. The same procedure applies to teachers, administrative staff and third-party contractors.

Abu Dhabi students can take free-of-charge PCR tests at any private or public clinic, hospital, or drive through test centre without the need to present a designated school code.

However, students must present a valid Emirates ID or passport to take the test.

Students under the age of 12 can opt for a saliva test at various test centres across Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Al Dhafra. A full list of testing locations is outlined on the ADEK website.

To accommodate for various start dates of the new term, the student testing service will be available until January 31.

ADEK advises all students physically returning to school on January 24 to get tested between January 20-22 to ensure valid test results for the first day of school.

Abu Dhabi teachers and administrative staff can also receive free-of-charge pre-return to school tests at designated centres.

Alternatively, they can choose to get tested at any private clinic or hospital of their choice at their own expense.

In addition to the pre-examinations for returning to schools, all students, teachers and school staff will continue to undergo routine in-school PCR testing to maintain a 14-day test validity throughout the term.

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