The ruling affects all public schools and private schools in Abu Dhabi and the Northern Emirates. Students in Dubai and Sharjah have already returned to in-school learning.
The first group of students will return to campus on January 24, and includes kindergarten, Cycle 1, Grade 12/13 students, as well as university students and those taking international exams - and all private schools.
The rest of the students will resume in-person lessons from January 31.
Unlike Dubai or Sharjah, parents in Abu Dhabi will continue to have the option for distance learning, but they will need to state their preference, and keep to it for the remainder of the term. According to a Which Media survey, distance learning is a considerably stronger preference of Arab and Indian families, than those from 'Western' countries.
This was announced during the government's latest media briefing on developments related to COVID-19.
All pupils in Abu Dhabi will require a PCR test, taken in the past 96 hours, to enter school buildings. They will further require a test every two weeks. Any parent wishing to enter school premises would require the same. The ruling will is likely affect all of the Northern Emirates. Dubai and Sharjah operate under the rules of their own regulators, the KHDA and SPEA respectively.