Covid19: KHDA adds More Restrictions for Schools

The KHDA has issued new restrictions and extra guidance to schools in Dubai in light of rising Covid-19 case numbers and a spate of school closures. Much to the dismay of parents, teachers and students, these changes mean that PE lessons will now be cancelled with immediate effect.
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

As Covid 19 continues to cause disruption to schools in Dubai, the KHDA last night issued new instructions to the emirate’s schools. The changes apply to all private Dubai schools for a period of 2 weeks, starting from Monday 3rd January.

Notably, the new protocols instruct schools that all PE lessons must be cancelled for entire two-week period. Instead, students will learn the “theory of PE” during timetabled PE lessons. This is in addition to all ‘gatherings’, trips, events and assemblies, which have been banned since the start of the new school term.

The announcement was highlighted on the KHDA's social media channels

As Covid-19 case numbers continue to rise across the community, school leaders have been given the power to move to distance learning for 48 hours, without prior consultation with the KHDA. Any longer closure must be approved by the Dubai school regulator.

An extract from the KHDA announcement
“What can schools do if students and staff test positive for Covid, or are close contacts?
Schools are trusted to protect the health and safety of students and staff at all times. Existing procedures enable school leaders to move a class, grade/year level or the whole school to distance learning for a 48-hour period without prior approval. We work closely with school leaders to ensure that students and staff are able to return to a safe school environment”. 

Parents and teachers alike took to social media to express their surprise and upset at the cancellation of much loved sports lessons. Many parents felt that given that PE could be held outside in the cooler weather (an environment that many believe to be conducive to lower transmission levels of the Covid virus), this was an unnecessarily strict precaution.

However, has been led to believe the thinking is less about the actual content of those lessons, and more about children moving around the school building and potentially coming into contact with other self-contained bubbles. That is, it is a decision based upon transit rather than PE itself.

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