The Ministry of Education (MoE) and National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (Ncema) said the reopening of nurseries in the UAE will go ahead "under special conditions, precautionary and preventive measures".
Earlier in the week a group of nurseries had forged an alliance to warn authorities of the sector's impending collapse if visibility on reopening was not given.
Measures that nurseries will have to undertake include temperature checks, ensuring all staff are tested for Covid-19 every two weeks and strict sanitisation rules.
A joint statement said:
"The Ministry of Education and Ncema announced the reopening of nurseries and childcare centres according to special requirements and precautionary and preventive measures outlined in a national protocol adopted by the authority."
Reopening will not be immediate. The Ministry of Education and concerned authorities will need to assess and ensure the readiness of nurseries and childcare centers and the extent to which all the requirements mentioned in the national protocol are applied.
The competent authorities will also inspect the nurseries periodically to ensure that the precautionary and preventive measures are applied and followed. Penalties will be imposed on any institution that violates the national protocol.
Abu Dhabi's Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) has also set out guidelines for reopening nurseries in the emirate.
Its measures include the requirements that:
• Nurseries operate at a limited capacity, with the specific number of children dependent on available space.
• Children will be cared for in small groups or "bubbles".
• Daily health screenings and temperature checks will be conducted for all staff and children.
• Children with health conditions will not be allowed to return to nursery.
• All staff will undergo online Covid-19 training.
• Parents are to notify staff immediately if their child displays symptoms or has been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
In Abu Dhabi all nurseries will need to undergo health and safety inspections and receive a no-objection certificate from ADEK. All staff must also undergo mandatory COVID-19 online training.
Similar rules are likely to be applied in other emirates.