Abu Dhabi: Negative PCR for Day 1 of School

ADEK has announced PCR testing requirements for private and charter school students in Abu Dhabi. Pupils will need to hold a negative PCR test in order to return for Day 1 of physical school.
This article is part of an editorial series on Covid-19
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This article is part of an editorial series on Covid-19

Students in Abu Dhabi will need to present a negative PCR test in order to attend physical school, regardless of vaccination status.

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:

  • A 14-day negative PCR result is required on the first day of physical school for all Private and Charter School students across the Emirate
  • Students are required to maintain a 14-day valid PCR test result during their first month of the new academic year 2021/22
  • Dedicated testing centres for students above 12 years and school staff
    Students below 12 years and Students of Determination can avail the free pre-entry tests at any private or public testing centres, with an option of a nasal PCR or saliva test
  • Details on routine testing to be announced in due course

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.

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