Masks compulsory for Dubai students when schools reopen

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Students aged six and above will have to wear face masks when they return to their classrooms in Dubai.

That’s the word from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), which released 118 safety points that schools, students and parents must follow when the premises open in the new academic year.

The ‘Protocols for the Reopening of Private Schools in Dubai’, which is up on the KHDA website, is part of efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Students and staff with medical conditions will be exempt from wearing masks if they provide a health certificate.

Masks can be taken off while eating or during high-intensity physical activities.

Students should be seated at least 1.5 metres apart in classrooms, to maintain social distancing guidelines.

Teachers will be allowed to move between classrooms, while students will not be permitted to do so.

This comes as schools work towards choosing the best ‘teaching model’ to adopt for the new academic year. It’ll be based on a parent survey, school size, location and size of student population.

Schools closed their doors in March in the face of the pandemic.

Here are some pointers from the comprehensive guideline

  • Thermal scanners must be set up at school entrances. Anyone showing a temperature above 37.5°C will not be allowed entry
  • Temperature checks will be done for students before they board the school bus
  • Only one family member or guardian will be allowed to enter the school facility for drop-off/pick-up
  • Staggered entry and exit procedure to maintain 2-metre physical distance guidelines
  • Teachers and students older than 6 years of age must wear face masks at all times
  • Students should be designated a chair and table and no swapping is allowed
  • Students and teachers must bring their own stationery items, devices or gadgets, which must not be shared
  • Vending machines, pantries and pre-packed food and beverages are allowed
  • Frequent sanitisation of vending machines and ensuring a 2-metre distance are mandatory
  • Showers, changing rooms and swimming pools will remain closed for now
  • PE lessons must focus on sports that do not require physical interaction.
  • If a student shows COVID-19 symptoms, the class teacher must refer the student to the school nurse
  • If a child or staff member begin to show symptoms of COVID-19 while at school, they will be isolated instantly
  • The student would not be allowed to return to school until a COVID-19 PCR result is obtained. If the result is negative but there remains a risk, the student would be asked to quarantine for 14 days
  • If a student tests positive for COVID-19, contact tracing will be carried out, including teachers and classmates of the pupils. They would all need to be quarantined for 14 days
  • Each school will identify a staff specifically to handle any health and safety emergencies, follow up and monitor the implementation of procedures, and conduct all necessary trainings for students and staff. This person is also responsible for the designated isolation room within the school premises.

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