As schools throughout Abu Dhabi continue to reopen, authorities have said regular inspections will ensure compliance with Covid safety protocols.
The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) said schools found violating these measures can be issued fines ranging from Dh10,000 to Dh250,000. Repeated non-compliance can lead to schools being forced to shift to distance learning provision, with parents entitled to remove their children from the school and gain fee refunds.
"Our sincere hope is that none of these penalties will have to be exacted," said Amer Al Hammadi, Undersecretary of Adek. "We have confidence in our school and nursery communities and their desire to adhere to the regulations for the safety of all.
"We have to put the safety of our community first and ongoing inspections are vital to ensure parents have confidence in the safety protocols of our schools and nurseries."
As on February 21, Adek has conducted inspections at 221 schools and 119 nurseries.
The inspections track compliance across a range of 62 criteria, including adherence to social distancing protocols; the existence of on-premise Covid taskforces; regular cleaning and disinfection programmes; regular Covid-19 testing of staff and students aged 12 years and above; regulated classroom numbers; PPE equipment standards; and daily routine checks conducted by a nominated school compliance officer.
No extracurricular activities allowed
Meanwhile, Adek has announced a ban on extracurricular activities on school premises, with only light athletic activities allowed outdoors during normal scheduled PE classes and under social distancing rules.
In addition, parents are allowed to enter school premises, provided they show a negative PCR test result taken within 96 hours of entry or show ‘emergency use’ status on their Al Hosn App.
School tours for new and prospective parents may also resume, while class sizes have been increased to a maximum of 30 students with 1.5 metre social distancing and compulsory face masks for Grade 1 and above.
For kindergarten, class size is capped at 25 students. Bubbles for younger children remain at a maximum of 10 students, in addition to a dedicated teaching team.
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