For most UAE schools, the new academic year starts from Sunday 29th August, suggesting high demand for PCR tests in the capital this coming weekend. The new rule includes all school staff and children under 12, as well as Students of Determination.
The detailed requirements as announced by ADEK are as follows:
Our understanding is that a “14-day valid PCR test” can be interpreted as simply meaning that students must be tested every for Covid-19 every 14 days.
Tests will be free for school staff and students over 12 years of age. Parents are advised to contact their school to arrange these free tests. Each school has been sent a “PCR schedule” to ensure that tests are taken in time. If this is not possible, then families can also choose to use a private testing facility, at their own cost.
For Students of Determination and children below the age of 12, free PCR tests will be able at any private or public testing centre in Abu Dhabi. Parents may choose for their child to take either a nasal swab PCR or saliva test, if preferred. All students must present a valid Emirates ID and explain the reason for their PCR test.
The announcement represents a distinct contrast in policy from that in neighbouring Dubai, where this week the KHDA announced new Covid-19 safety guidelines for schools. The Dubai guidelines mark a significant relaxation of restrictions in schools, and students and staff in the emirate will not be subject to regular PCR testing, as is the case in Abu Dhabi.