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Gradual Return to Classroom Learning in Abu Dhabi

by Eddie Rayner

Following the announcement of the Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee for the Covid-19 pandemic on the gradual return to in-classroom learning model, the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) has announced updates for the gradual return to face-to-face learning for Private and Charter School students.

From 24 January, all students in KG1 – Grade 5/ FS1 – Year 6 and students in Grade 12/ Year 13 will be permitted to return to school. Students who are studying for international exams will also be permitted to return to school to ensure continuity of learning and preparedness. Students will be permitted on campus to resume face-to-face learning while adhering to the stringent school health and safety precautionary measures.

All other students will continue distance learning until 31 January when all students opting for in-classroom learning can resume in-classroom learning.

ADEK also confirmed that the option for distance learning will remain in place throughout the term; however, parents are required to inform their child’s school of their preference to continue distance learning or return to physical school for the week starting 31st of January. The chosen model must be adhered to for the remainder of term one to enable schools to plan accordingly.

KG1 – Grade 5/ FS1 – Year 6 students, as well as Grade12/ Year 13 and students sitting for board and high stakes exams, can return to in-classroom education from 24 January

All external school trips and activities will be suspended until further notice, while sports and cultural activities will be permitted in full adherence to health and safety precautionary measures in place.

Students, teachers, and school staff who have recently returned from overseas travel will be required to sign a travel declaration form, with those returning to the UAE within two weeks of their entry to school required to submit negative PCR test results taken on day one and day six from their return date. All students, teachers and employees must present a 96-hour negative PCR test result before returning to campus.

To ensure a safe return to school in 2022, all Private and Charter School students aged three years and above – regardless of vaccination status and inclusive of Students of Determination – must produce a negative nasal PCR or saliva test result valid for 96 hours before resuming in-person classes, whether on the fourth or fifth week. The same procedure applies to teachers, administrative staff and third-party contractors.

All students can return to physical school on 31 January with distance learning remaining an option

Abu Dhabi students can take free-of-charge PCR tests at any private or public clinic, hospital, or drive through test centre without the need to present a designated school code. However, students must present a valid Emirates ID or passport to receive the test. Students under the age of 12 can opt for a saliva test at a variety of test centres across Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Al Dhafra. A full list of testing locations is outlined on the ADEK website.

To accommodate for various start dates of the new term, the student testing service will be available until January 31st. ADEK advises all students physically returning to school on January 24th to take tests between January 20-22 to ensure valid test results for the first day of school.

Abu Dhabi teachers and administrative staff can also receive free-of-charge pre-return to school tests at designated centres. A list of centres and school codes has been shared with schools to cascade to teachers and staff. Alternatively, Abu Dhabi teachers and school staff can choose to take PCR tests at any private clinic or hospital of their choice at their own expense should they wish to do so.

In addition to the pre-examinations for returning to schools, all students, all students below 16 years of age regardless of their vaccination status, vaccinated and exempted students aged 16 and above, as well as teachers and school staff, will continue to undergo routine in-school PCR testing to maintain a14-day test validity throughout the new term.

For more information, visit adek.gov.ae or follow ADEK on social media:

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