COVID-19: Sharjah students all set for onsite classes

Schools’ employees are actively seeking to get fully vaccinated and continue to remain compliant with the guidelines

Classroom et elementary school without people. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Classroom et elementary school without people. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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As on-campus learning resumes in Sharjah’s private schools today, parents are relieved that students have been required to present negative PCR test results to attend classes. Older pupils opting for face-to-face lessons are either taking the jab or booking appointments for their Covid tests.

Last week, the emirate’s education authorities have announced that a student above 12 years of age needs to undergo a PCR test no more than 72 hours prior to attending in-class lessons.

The multiple layers of safety measures — from testing to vaccination and stringent protocols — has boosted confidence and prompted an increase in the number of Sharjah students who will be setting foot in their schools for the first time in a year.

Doli Ghosh, whose son in Grade 12 has now shifted to blended learning after a year of studying from home, said: “A few times a week, he will be going to school for face-to-face learning. He has taken the jab and, as a result, does not have to go for the PCR test. The vaccination drive, along with the PCR test, adds an impetus to parental confidence,” said Ghosh.

It’s the same case for Roji Ravi, a parent of two school-going children. “My daughter who is in Grade 4 will be going to school after a year. Our offices were closed and work from home was allowed. So, we kept our daughter home. The vaccination drive and the PCR tests in Sharjah schools for older children are undoubtedly instilling a sense of safety in all of us, as students return for in-class lessons.”

At Ambassador School Sharjah, there has also been an “uptick” in interest for face-to-face learning, according to its principal, Arogya Reddy.

“The robust safety measures implemented by the Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA) are boosting the confidence levels of parents. Up to 50 per cent of our pupils are opting for onsite learning in the new academic year as opposed to around 30 per cent previously,” Reddy said.

“Pupils just have to present their valid school IDs at designated centres where they have booked an appointment for the PCR test. Then, the PCR tests are for free,” he explained.

Students, parents and staff at GEMS Millennium School, Sharjah, have welcomed the SPEA’s decision to resume on-site learning, said principal and CEO Teresa Varman.

“More than 97 per cent of our school staff have been vaccinated and our primary focus will be on the health, safety, and wellbeing of all. We have made special arrangements for our students 12 years and older to be PCR tested in school ahead of the reopening,” she said.

Schools’ employees are actively seeking to get fully vaccinated and continue to remain compliant with the guidelines stipulated by the authorities. All staff members are required to undergo a Covid-19 examination every 14 days, unless they have received the two doses of the vaccine.

School communities in the emirate are following the layered safety procedures to ensure students’ academic success and well-being.

Jonathan Dey, headmaster and CEO of Wesgreen International School Sharjah, said: “We’re excited to welcome our students back to school next week... As we work towards a memorable conclusion to the Academic Year in Term 3, we remain determined to offer top-quality planning and instruction, alongside ensuring that each student feels supported through personalised learning, voice and choice, fun, and above all, care.”

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