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Home » Week 1 results: UAE schools report safe student return to campus – News
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Week 1 results: UAE schools report safe student return to campus – News

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One school principal said over 95 per cent of students signed up for in-person classes.

Hundreds of students had a safe learning experience as they returned to campus last week. While several students opted for physical schooling after spending nearly six months at home, others continued virtual classes.

One school principal said over 95 per cent of students signed up for in-person classes.

Fatima Martin, principal, GEMS New Millennium School Al Khail, said: “We had more than 95 per cent of students who signed up for on-site learning, return to school and it was a delight to see happy faces of children fill our school’s corridors and classrooms.”

She said students who opted for distance learning were “equally excited” to “return via the virtual school platform, interacting with their teachers and peers”.

“Teaching to a cohort who are with them in the classroom and another who are learning from their homes is demanding in terms of the nature of learning tasks. Nevertheless, by the end of the week, we can vouch that we are better equipped with this new mode of teaching and learning,” Martin added.

Safety lessons

Schools used the first week to prioritise safety measures.

Sarah O’Regan, principal and CEO, GEMS Wellington Primary School, said: “We have focused our lessons on welcoming our students back safely into the school environment. Our students have enjoyed meeting their new class teachers and being able to socialise safely at a distance with their friends. Together, we have made it possible for our students to return safely back to WPS.”

Students were familiarised with the various changes around the school and studying amid the new normal.

Deepika Thapar Singh, CEO-principal of Credence High School, said: “We are sure that the weeks ahead will make our children more relaxed as the systems would have become embedded and a strong routine would have been formed.”

‘Communication is key’

Teachers said consistent communication with all stakeholders is key to delivering different learning models successfully.

Amity School Dubai principal Sangita Chima said: “Shifts and changes can confuse students and we have focused on creating interactive and motivating learning environments. We noticed that a regular conversation with parents is key to ensuring that our student community is aware and prepared for the new normal. Children are resilient and quick to adjust. Students have missed their teachers and friends, and are eager to interact and communicate with each other.”

From this week, schools are also working on incorporating games, discussions and other activities that will help students remain socially connected to their peers, while remaining socially distant.

Safety during breaks

At some smaller schools where in-campus learning is yet to resume, implementing safety measures during break times could be a challenge.

Sharafuddin Thanikat, principal, Crescent English High School, said: “Teachers may face many challenges during the face to face learning that will begin on September 7 for us. Seating arrangements in every class are made based on 1.5-metre social distancing. Teachers will need to be very cautious during the break times to ensure this physical distancing.”

Pick-up and drop-off issues

For schools, managing a staggered pick-up and drop-off system at designated points was a challenge.

Andreas Swoboda, principal, Uptown International Schools, said: “As we had a successful first week, not many changes have to be implemented. We need to fine-tune certain aspects, mainly in terms of student pick-up, but all in all we can build on the success of our first week.

“One area that we will continue to request from our school community is ongoing vigilance when it comes to the new rules of our times.”

Brendon Fulton, principal at Dubai British School Jumeirah Park, said he was worried about the drop-off and pick-up times. “However, our parents have been incredibly helpful and supportive in sticking to allocated time slots and following the directions provided to them. Everybody understands that we are in uncharted territory.”

nandini@khaleejtimes.com 





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