The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) has issued Abu Dhabi Private and Charter Schools a policy to regulate the implementation of the Blue Schools Initiative recently approved by the Abu Dhabi Emergency Crisis and Disasters Committee for the Covid-19 pandemic.
Building on the success of health and safety measures implemented in schools during the pandemic, the initiative offers Abu Dhabi schools a clear roadmap to normalcy by providing customised privileges based on student vaccination rates, supporting schools to gradually relax measures and return to normal operations.
Vaccination of students aged below 16 remains optional
The policy, which builds upon the Private School Reopening Policies and Guidelines 2021/22 and its compliance programme, provides a comprehensive framework for the initiative, including a guide on the formula used to calculate student vaccination rates, how privileges will be applied to schools, in addition to mandates for schools on anti-discrimination policies against unvaccinated students.
The policy features a framework designed to ensure the fair implementation of the initiative across Abu Dhabi’s Private and Charter Schools
H.E Amer Al Hammadi, ADEK Under-secretary commented: “Our policy is designed to enable an efficient and effective implementation of the Blue Schools Initiative and provides full transparency to our education community as we strive to see schools return to normalcy at the earliest opportunity. The policy mandates schools to establish clear anti-discrimination and anti-stigmatisation guidelines in line with the values of the UAE. Schools are strictly prohibited from requiring the mandatory vaccination of students below the age of 16.
To date, all staff and students aged 16 and above currently attending Abu Dhabi’s Private and Charter Schools have been vaccinated, leaving students under 16 as the only primarily unvaccinated group since vaccination for this category remains voluntary according to government protocols. The Blue Schools Initiative recognises vaccination as the key path to recovery and encourages immunisation of this remaining group, increasing their protection against Covid-19 and minimising the impact of possible infections.
Under the initiative, as vaccination rates increase within a school community, a school will advance through the four colour-coded tiers: Orange, Yellow, Green, and Blue, and will enjoy additional privileges per tier. The school-wide incentives range from relaxation of physical distancing, gradual school closures, and mask-wearing protocols, and will allow for increases in classroom and bus capacity, the reintroduction of field trips, on-campus events, and extra-curricular activities, including team and contact sports, as well as inter and intra-school sports competitions.