Nurseries were among the first educational institutions to be shut down in March due to Covid-19.
UAE nursery owners and parents of nursery-going children have expressed relief following the announcement by the Ministry of Education and the National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) that these venues could resume operations.
Nurseries were among the first educational institutions to be shut down in March when the pandemic broke out. Last week, at least 79 heads of UAE nurseries had appealed for support and reopening guidance. In a petition, the nursery owners stated that as they await reopening orders, 50 to 75 per cent of nursery facilities could close down in the coming month.
However, following the announcement on Thursday, owners said they have already begun putting in place a very strict ‘safety infrastructure’ that would safeguard the lives of nursery children. Many parents Khaleej Times reached out to have also said they are grateful as they were considering sending their children to private nurseries in homes as a last-minute resort.
‘Safety infrastructure in place’
Zeena Assalam, head of Creative Nest Nursery, said: “My first feeling is that I’m very grateful. We did put out a campaign, and they listened to us and have given us something to look forward to.”
She added: “I am also extremely grateful to the community because the response from people have been extremely overwhelming, especially since many had almost lost hope.” Zeena said many parents had already admitted their kids to the school – Foundation Stage 1. However, many have been able to avail of refunds. “We have already purchased all the safety and precautionary equipment. The infrastructure to welcome children has already been put into place.”
Since the current guidelines that the owners have received from the ministry are still very brief, all owners are waiting for further instructions from authorities. “We have followed international safety procedures that have been adopted in countries that have already opened nurseries. Our staff will be undergoing testing as well,” she added.
Siog Moore, who runs Little Land Montessori Nursery in Dubai, said: “We are absolutely thrilled and very emotional following the announcement. It has been six long months and we’ve received over 40 messages from parents this morning. We are awaiting clear guidelines from authorities and right now, we are following the instructions from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). The entire group of nursery owners are working towards adopting all safety measures given by the ministry,” added Moore.
No compromises on safety
Siog also said ‘safety clusters’ will be created and a stringent sanitisation process will be adopted. “Children at that age are vulnerable to all kinds of infections and their immunity is building up. We will have additional sanitisation processes to ensure safety.”
Similarly, Yasser Faraz, owner of French nursery Le Petit Poucet, said that his nursing staff had left their jobs to join medical facilities. “I will have to find nurses to replace them as after these many months of closure, we will not be taking any risks.” He said many parents have already put their kids in FS1 school, and many parents also had their jobs at stake as they had no place to keep their children.
“We have put into place strict procedures for drop-off and pick-up of children. No external adults will be allowed into the building and adults will always be accompanying our children. I have also installed temperature scanning cameras at the entrance of the school,” said Faraz.
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