This request gains urgency as the Black Lives Matter movement is triggering waves of protests that continue across the US.
Several parents of students stranded in the US are appealing to the UAE Government to prioritise the return of their children despite the travel restrictions due to Covid-19.
This request gains urgency as the BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement is triggering waves of protests and rallies that continue across the US.
It comes after 46-year-old George Floyd reportedly died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, many parents expressed additional concerns in the wake of the community outrage that has led to widespread disruptions across different cities in the US.
A student with a medical condition
Sumi Mitra, a Dubai resident, is increasingly getting worried for her 20-year-old son who is a Business and Finance second year student at the University of California, Berkeley.
Covid-19 restrictions were enough for parents’ woes, when further anxieties related to the unrest are adding to her worries.
She said: “My son has certain existing medical conditions. He has asthma, is thalassaemia minor and has few other health issues. He is currently staying at a rented accommodation but needless to say he has very limited resources. Now, with all these protests happening in the US there is a supply disruption at many stores for essential goods. It bothers me constantly as a parent when I watch on the television as to what’s happening there.
“We earnestly request the government here to help expedite the arrival of these students back home to the UAE as it is one of the safest places we’ve known. It is home to our children.”
Many have been asked to vacate dormitories
Another parent Meera Ganesan voiced similar concerns. Her son’s campus has shut down and Sreenivas, along with others, was asked to vacate the dormitory.
Meera said: “My son studies in North Carolina State University but after the students were asked to leave, for the past three months he has been living at a friend’s place in Virginia. These are such uncertain times. We, like a lot of other parents, have been applying for our son’s return. The UAE is a safe country and this is where we have lived for years now. Our children are getting depressed as they are away from their families especially in this Covid-19 situation.”
She added: “Now with all these rallies across the US and with protestors gathering on the streets, it is worrying. Though, our son is far away from these scenes, but as a parent who is thousands of kilometres away from my child, I shudder when I think of additional grim situations.”
Another UAE resident Girish Pai, whose 19-year-old son is a first-year undergraduate student at the University of Illinois, is also among the worried parents.
“As parents, we feel dejected that we have been unable to bring Anirudh back despite our best efforts. He is feeling very lonely there and wants to return home to the UAE, to all of us.”
Universities issue safety circulars to students
“Currently, movement in the US is also restricted due to the ongoing situation. My son along with all other students received a circular from the university, stating pupils should always lock their room door even if they are gone only for a few minutes. They are not supposed to open doors for anybody unless they know that the person lives in the building. They’ve been asked to avoid walking alone at night and look out for their neighbours. After reading the circular, as a parent, you feel all the more concerned over the situation.”
Writing from the US, Sarthak Hans, a UAE resident and undergraduate student at University of Illinois in Chicago, said he had been trying to return home as his academic semester got over in early May.
Sarthak said: “My leasing contract for the dorm is also over. It is becoming very problematic and hectic for me now. There isn’t any significant reason for me to stay back. I’ve been instructed to vacate my dorm and have no proper place to live. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing protests, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to purchase any food supplies as many shops have been closed or looted. I request the concerned authorities to kindly facilitate our return.”
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