Any school opting for the hybrid model, will not be able to have more than 50% of students or staff in the school at any one time.
The instructions have been sent by the Department of Licensing and Compliance, and require schools that want to continue some form of in-school learning to submit ann updated learning plan to the Department of Institutional Licensure.
The ruling does not affect Abu Dhabi and Dubai schools, which follow the instructions of their own regulator. Abu Dhabi is already under blanket Distance Learning while Dubai has adopted a more agile strategy of different implementation plans depending on the needs of the school. It is not clear whether Sharjah schools, now under the remit of the Sharjah Private Education Authority, is covered by the Department of Licensing and Compliance notice.
In the letter to principals, the department wrote:
In an effort to achieve a safe educational environment for our students under the current health conditions, and in accordance with the national precautionary measures to reduce the spread of the new Coronavirus (Covid-19), it was decided, as of Sunday 31/01/2021 that all private schools will abide by the following measures.
1. Apply either 100% distance learning system for all students and school staff or the application of hybrid learning system (classroom + distance learning) with a capacity of no more than 50% for students and employees in the school with adherence to all precautionary measures.
2. Present the learning plan to the Department of Institutional Licensure in case of any updates on the plan adopted by the beginning of the current academic year based on the new procedures and therefore to start applying it.
Private schools that are applying hybrid learning system are obligated to inform the Department of Institutional Learning immediately the number of positive cases as soon as they are detected, after having direct communication with the Department of Preventative Medicine to inform them of the cases detected with full compliance with all instructions and procedures issued by them in this regard.
The move comes as the number of active Covid-19 cases has risen sharply. The UAE on Tuesday reported 3,601 new cases of COVID-19, taking the overall tally in the country to 285,147.