Coronavirus: Fines of up to $69,000 for Abu Dhabi schools violating Covid-19 safety measures

A detailed list of guidelines has been shared

  
Interior of classroom in elementary school. Row of empty desks are in illuminated room. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Interior of classroom in elementary school. Row of empty desks are in illuminated room. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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UAE - Fines of up to Dh250,000 will be imposed on private schools found not complying with the Covid-19 safety guidelines issued for the reopening of campuses for in-class lessons, according to education regulators.

The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) confirmed to Khaleej Times on Sunday that it had issued out the list of penalties to private schools in the emirate, which includes hefty fines if a school fails to comply with the health and safety measures issued earlier for the reopening of schools. The safety guidelines were intended to provide a safe learning environment for students and the school community amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Adek had in July announced the reopening of private schools from August 30 with in-class lessons, and issued out a comprehensive safety guide for the same, including daily temperature checks for all teachers, administrative staff and students, wearing face masks and social distancing measures for the safety of students and teachers alike.

A document detailing policies and guidelines for reopening had been sent to all private schools across the emirate.

Penalties for non-compliance with guidelines

Adek had also sent out to schools the list of penalties, which includes a warning and fines of Dh10,000 and Dh20,000 for missing documents or records on implementation of Covid-19 measures if caught in the violation for the first, second and third time, respectively.

The list of penalties also stipulates a Dh10,000, Dh20,000 and Dh30,000 fine for inadequate implementation of the safety measures if caught for the first, second and third time, respectively.

If a school is caught not complying with Health Safety and Environmental (HSE) Hazards norms, it will face fines of Dh50,000 for the first time, Dh75,000 if repeated for the second time, and Dh100,000 if caught in the violation for third time. And if found to have repeated the violation for three times, the school is required to transfer to full remote learning and parents have the right to transfer their children to another school and get full refund of the school fees.

According to Adek, for complete negligence of the Covid-19 safety measures, the school will face a fine of Dh250,000. If found to have repeated the violation for twice, the school is required to transfer to full remote learning and parents have the right to transfer their children to another school and get full refund of the school fees.

Adek said its compliance teams have carried out more than 520 inspection visits to schools since the beginning of the current school year, as part of the intensification of their monitoring efforts to ensure compliance with the precautionary measures.

The Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis & Disasters Committee had earlier warned that it will implement precautionary measures to shift any school to remote learning if a Covid-19 case is suspected, until test results are confirmed by the Abu Dhabi Department of Health (DoH). This is to protect students' health and safety and safeguard public health.

According to the committee, should someone suspected to have contracted the virus, schools will update parents directly on schooling systems and if contact with a positive case occurred.

The Ministry of Education (MoE) also said schools in UAE will be shut temporarily or asked to operate at reduced capacity if the number of Covid-19 cases increase.

Covid-19 safety guidelines for schools:

- Daily temperature checks for all teachers, administrative staff and students.

- Teachers should wear masks at all times.

- All students above the age of six must wear masks while at the school campus.

- Strict social distancing rules of 1.5m must be adhered to by all while on the school campus.

- The number of students in each class must be limited to only 15.

- Schools must alternate the number of break times to encourage physical distancing and avoid crowding.

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