UAE: Teachers welcome e-learning extension as chance to get COVID jab

Though pupils were set to return to classrooms on January 17, the decision was put on hold because of an uptick in Covid cases in the country

  
Child learning mathematics from computer. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Child learning mathematics from computer. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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UAE - The decision to postpone face-to-face lessons in private schools and continue with remote learning for three weeks will give teachers and administrative staff the opportunity to get vaccinated for their safety and that of pupils, according to private school authorities.

On January 16, the Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee had announced that schools in the emirate would continue with distance learning for three more weeks as a precautionary measure to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Though pupils were set to return to classrooms on January 17, the decision was put on hold because of an uptick in Covid-19 cases in the UAE.

The authorities said the decision was taken to safeguard the “health and safety of all those who are linked to the school community”.

Anna Padgiwalla, principal of Mayoor School, Abu Dhabi, said the decision to continue with remote learning for another three weeks has given the opportunity for teachers and administrative workers to receive the optional Covid-19 jab.

"It’ll benefit our school to a great extent. In our school, the date allotted for vaccinating the staff is January 26. On this day, the teachers, administrative staff and all other workers will get vaccinated at the school," she said.

"The parents, too, will get confidence in the school’s safety because the entire staff would have received the jab. This will motivate them to send their children to school for face-to-face classes," she added.

Salman Khan, deputy principal, Islamia English School, Abu Dhabi, said the three weeks’ break has facilitated the teachers and the staff to prepare themselves for the UAE’s mass vaccination drive.

“There is no alternative to physical learning, as it entails human touch. The drive will provide an opportunity to the schools to get back to some form of normalcy,”’ said Khan.

“Teachers have availed the opportunity to get the vaccine and have responded positively. We’re grateful to the Abu Dhabi government for the vaccination drive,” he said.

“Face-to-face learning will get a boost because of the three-week break to teachers,” he added.

Dr. Jamal Al Kaabi, Undersecretary of the Department of Health in Abu Dhabi (DoH), said: “It’s important to study the situation regarding the reopening of schools for in-class lessons. The Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee then decided to postpone the opening of schools and continue with the distance learning system for the safety of the schooling community.”

He stated that the decision was taken in coordination with the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek), which is leaving no stone unturned as far as education reforms are concerned.

Earlier this week, Abu Dhabi private school teachers, administrative staff and their families started receiving the Covid-19 jab at their respective institutions as part of the nationwide vaccination campaign.

The one-day vaccination programme at each school was arranged by Adek in coordination with Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha) and the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention. The health workers went to the schools to administer the jabs.

 

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