Educationists focus on children’s mental and emotional wellbeing as they returned to school after the summer break — many of them for the first time since Covid pandemic hit.
13 October 2021, 12:00 AM
31 October 2021, 12:00 AM
As schools reopened fully for in-person learning on October 3, educators across Dubai expressed their elation about the pleasant change. Their top priority is ensuring a smooth continuation of teaching and learning in the post-Covid recovery phase.
More than 75 per cent of students returned to campus at the start of the new term, but now, all students must attend in-person classes unless they fall under the exception categories outlined by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).
Mahira Zakiuddin, academy counsellor, GEMS Wellington Academy – Silicon Oasis, said: “It is important that returning pupils feel safe and are reassured that the adults in the building will keep their health and wellbeing as a priority. It is also important to normalise feelings of uncertainty and encourage students to speak to a trusted adult — whether at school or at home. At school, this can be someone in leadership, teaching staff, school counsellors or the pastoral safeguarding team.”
Nathan Sadler, primary principal at GEMS Wellington Academy — Silicon Oasis, said: "close to 100 per cent of students had already returned to school over the past year, but it was nice to welcome the remaining few".
"Face-to-face friendships have been rekindled and our returning students have thoroughly enjoyed physically attending lessons such as Physical Education (PE), Outdoor Learning and Performing Arts," he said.
“I would not say this is back to normal, but it's reintegration. The physical routines are so different now and masks are still around,” said Shiny Davison, academic director at the Gulf Model School in Dubai.
"This required a lot of preparation from recruiting teachers, staff and drivers. We have redesigned classrooms and staggered exit times,” said Shiny Davison, academic director at the school.
“We have staggered break times so that at one time we have only 300 to 400 children in the playground.
Muhammad Ali Kottakkulam, principal at Gulf Indian High School Dubai, said: “Since October 3, every educator in the UAE has been enjoying the sight of their beloved students streaming in and out of the campus ... It has given back life to the school campus ... I sincerely thank the government for this great decision."
Though there were some minor challenges, Kottakkulam said the school was well-prepared to address the concerns.