Keeping education community safe: Preventing the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) at schools in Dubai


 

Last updated: 6:00 PM – 19 May 2020

Frequently Asked Questions - Schools

Please check back on this page regularly. We’ll keep updating it to include all the questions we receive from the community.

Please do check the latest update from the concerned authorities in relation health, safety and travel in case it changed while we were working on updating this page.

Important Circulars

PDF icon  Circular “Preventive Measures for School Exams during COVID-19 Pandemic Period” – 26 May 2020

PDF icon  Circular for “Distance Learning” - 31 March 2020

PDF icon  Circular for "A four-week closure for all nurseries, schools and universities" - 07 March 2020

PDF icon  Circular for "End of Academic year for Indian and Pakistani schools" - 07 March 2020

General Questions

  1. Does this four-week closure have any impact on the dates of summer holidays?

    No. The dates of summer holidays remain unchanged.

  2. My school is struggling financially. What help is available to us?

    Banks in the UAE have announced different measures to help businesses. Please check with your school’s bank to see how it can help your school. KHDA is able to write letters of support to banks, landlords and other organisations to which you are financially obligated. Please email rpc@khda.gov.ae if you’d like to request a letter.

  3. Are education institutions allowed to provide paper materials to their students during the distance learning period? New icon

    Early learning centers, schools, universities and training institutes are currently not allowed to exchange any type of paper material with their students, except for textbooks for this term. To ensure uninterrupted delivery of distance learning, institutions are expected to incorporate alternative strategies and online learning methods, in addition to any electronic communication tools that are accessible to teachers and students. Please adhere to the circular here.

  4. What are the guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting educational institutes and how can I find a company to deep clean my premises?

    See below Dubai Municipality guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting: https://www.dm.gov.ae/en/Business/HealthAndPublicSafety/Documents/Health%20and%20Safety%20Circulars/03_Circular_11March.pdf.

    See below Dubai Municipality list of recommended companies to clean and disinfect: https://www.dm.gov.ae/en/Business/HealthAndPublicSafety/Pages/Health-and-Safety-Consultancy-and-Training-Companies.aspx.

  5. How long will distance learning continue?

    According to the decree issued by the UAE Ministry of Education on March 30, distance learning will continue until the end of the academic year for schools which start in September.

    For schools that usually start their academic year in April, distance learning will continue until the end of the first semester.

  6. Can I transfer my child to another school for Term 3?

    Parents are entitled to transfer their children to another school within the first three weeks of Term 3. The established process on student transfers is to be followed in this instance.

  7. Am I entitled to a full fee refund from my children’s school if I transfer them to another school?

    If you inform your current school before the start of Term 3 on Sunday April 5, you are entitled to a full fee refund. If you tell them after the start of term, the refund you receive will be determined by the Registrations and Refund policy.

  8. My child is in Pre-KG/KG1/KG2 (or FS1/FS2/Year 1). I don’t want to continue with distance learning for Term 3, but would like to register for the following grade next academic year. How can I do this?

    If you decide to withdraw your child for Term 3 and re-enroll them in a higher grade for the new academic year, the same conditions and procedures apply as for new students. These include availability of places, and meeting the school’s assessment and age requirements for the grade your child will be enrolled in.

  9. If I withdraw my child from school for Term 3, will he/she have to repeat the year?

    Article 4 of Ministerial decree 229 (March 30th) from the UAE Ministry of Education states that students in Grade 1/Year 2 and above who do not complete Term 3 through distance learning will be considered withdrawn from school. If they wish to be enrolled in the next Grade/Year for the 2020/21 academic year, they must present a “transfer certificate” and ‘passing certificate’ from their previous school stating that they have passed the previous grade/year. Schools are able to issue these certificates at their discretion.

  10. How can an Individual Education Plan (IEP) be applied as part of distance learning education programme?

    Each child’s Individual Education Plan should be altered to reflect the new context of the learning programme. For students of determination who experience the most significant barriers to learning, this will mean that goals and activities will need to be altered so that they can be applied as part of a life-skills based programme in the home.

  11. Is private tutoring still allowed?

    According to directives from the UAE Ministry of Education, private tutoring is only allowed if done online. Private tutors must not meet in person with students at school, at their homes, or at any other location.

    https://twitter.com/MOEducationUAE/status/1245701694178111488

  12. My income has been affected by Covid-19. My child’s school is asking me to provide private financial information in order to give me a discount on fees. Is this allowed?

    Some schools may be able to offer financial relief to all parents, while others can only give it to parents who need it most. If you feel uncomfortable giving your school your financial information, please ask them to share their general eligibility criteria with you. We encourage schools and parents to be as transparent with each other as possible during this time.

  13. What are school timings during Ramadan?

    The majority of schools will be providing distance learning from 9am-2pm during the holy month of Ramadan. Some schools may differ from these timings if most of their parent community requests it.

    Students and teachers spend extra time with their families during the holy month – we ask schools to be mindful of this when assigning homework and other tasks.

  14. When will schools open again? New icon

    Schools are currently scheduled to open in September, though it‘s still unknown what form this will take or whether that will change. We are working closely with our colleagues in the federal government, so that when a decision is made, it will be applicable to all schools in the UAE. We all hope to get schools open to students again as soon as it’s safe to do so.

  15. I’m thinking about homeschooling my children if schools don't reopen in September. Which homeschooling programmes are recognised by KHDA? New icon

    KHDA does not currently recognise homeschooling programmes.  Parents who are interested in alternative forms of education may be able to join the Rahhal programme. To qualify, students must be enrolled full-time in a Dubai private school. 

Distance Learning

  1. Will all schools be providing distance learning?

    Yes. According to the Ministerial Decree of March 30, schools which start their academic year in September must provide distance learning for the remainder of the 2019/20 academic year.

    Schools which start their academic year in April must provide distance learning until the end of the first semester.

  2. Will my children still be able to communicate with their teachers if they need help?

    Different schools will manage this situation in different ways. Please ask your children’s school directly.

  3. How will online lessons be delivered if services are blocked in UAE?

    Your school will send details of any applications you may need. We are working with telecommunications providers to help support schools with their distance learning requirements.

  4. If distance learning is not available, what can be done?

    The UAE Ministry of Education has stated that all schools, universities and training centres must provide some form of distance learning during the closure period.

    Please check with your institution to learn how it plans to deliver distance learning.

    We understand that distance learning may not be relevant or appropriate for children in early years education. In this instance, we ask parents and nurseries/early learning centres to find a solution that respects the financial circumstances of parents and centres.

  5. We are struggling with the implementation of distance learning because some of our students and staff don't have internet connection. What can we do?

    During the distance learning period, all Du, Etisalat and Virgin Mobile customers can access selected video conferencing tools (Blackboard, Zoom, Microsoft Teams) and school websites without data charges. Operators are working to expand the list of available platforms and all information and updates can be found at these links:

    https://www.du.ae/distancelearning
    https://www.etisalat.ae/en/c/learning-together.jsp
    https://www.virginmobile.ae/distance-learning-school-sites

  6. I would like to donate my laptop/desktop/mobile device to students in Dubai that don’t have one.

    Your kindness and generosity is appreciated and your donation will certainly bring happiness to a young learner in Dubai. Please contact Dar Al Ber Society by emailing Mr. Ghanem on Abdulfattah.ghanem@daralber.ae, who will ensure that your donated device will reach students who are in need of technological assistance during school closures.

  7. My children can’t access distance learning because they don't have electronic devices. What can I do?

    We recommend that you get in touch with your school and inform them first. You may also then wish to register your details with our friends at Dar Al Ber Society using this link. They may be able to assist in providing devices that have been kindly donated from the community. There is a limited supply, so we ask that only parents with no means of access to a device contact Dar Al Ber Society.

  8. My child is registered in a private school in Dubai, and I have already paid the tuition fees for Term 3. Can my child continue distance learning for this term from outside the UAE?

    If your child is already registered at a private school in Dubai, and you’ve paid the fees for the third semester, your child can continue with distance learning from outside the UAE. This is allowed only as long as school premises remain closed to students. If your child is studying from abroad, please make sure to consider whether time differences may impact their learning.

Distance Learning Evaluation

PDF icon  Distance Learning Evaluation Tool – Stage 1

  1. What is the DLE?

    The DLE is a joint initiative between the UAE Ministry of Education (MoE), the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) and the Sharjah Private Education Authority Ministry of Education (SPEA) designed to evaluate the quality of distance learning provided by public and private schools in the UAE.

  2. What is the purpose of the DLE?

    The DLE has been developed to create shared expectations of distance learning for schools, parents and students and to provide schools with feedback in order to help them improve key aspects of their provision.

  3. How was the DLE devised?

    Teams from MoE, KHDA, ADEK and SPEA interviewed principals and teachers at public and private schools across the UAE to discuss the implementation of distance learning by their schools, and to gain an understanding of how it can be improved.

    Evaluation criteria and processes were developed and piloted with a number of public and private schools and insights gained during these pilot evaluations were used.

  4. When will the DLE start?

    Evaluations will start before mid May 2020.

  5. What will schools be evaluated on?

    The DLE will cover the following three zones:

    • Students’ distance learning and wellbeing
    • Teaching and monitoring of students’ learning
    • Leading and managing students’ learning.

    Each of these zones is subdivided into themes, which are supported by descriptors.

  6. How will the DLE be implemented?

    Each school evaluation will be conducted remotely and is expected to take approximately five hours. It will include online meetings with the principal and senior leadership team, as well as remote observation of lessons. Schools will be given prior notice of an evaluation.

  7. How will the outcomes of the evaluation be shared?

    DLE outcomes will be shared with the schools and will also be published at a later stage.

Staff

  1. Do staff at early learning centres, school and universities have to physically come to work during this period? New icon

    Early learning centres, schools and universities may require up to 30% of their staff to physically work from their workplace for a maximum of 8 hours daily, no permit is required. Relevant circulars and guidelines for social distancing, health checks and sanitation must be followed at all times..

  2. Can early learning centers, schools and universities request essential staff to come to work to ensure delivery of distance learning?

    A maximum of 30% of all staff may be allowed within the education institution building. Please adhere to the instructions here, follow the Ministry of Health and Protection guidelines and continue to check official social media and websites for updates.

  3. Which employees are given priority to work remotely at early learning centers, schools and universities?

    With immediate effect all schools in Dubai should prioritize employees whose health is vulnerable, including pregnant women, employees over 60 years old and people of determination to work from home, provided that distance learning continues for all students.

  4. Can I return to school after my holiday abroad?

    No. The most recent government guidelines state that all UAE residents who have travelled abroad must self-quarantine for 14 days when they return. Failure to do will be punishable by law.
    UAE residents will not be allowed to re-enter the UAE from abroad for a period of two weeks starting Thursday, March 19.
    Until further notice, the UAE will no longer be issuing visit visas to any foreign nationals.
    UAE nationals are prohibited from travelling abroad.

  5. I’ve just returned from abroad and my employer is refusing to pay my salary during the 14-day quarantine. Can they do this?

    Staff salaries and employment are governed by the Ministry of Emiratisation and Human Resources. Please contact the Ministry directly for guidance https://www.mohre.gov.ae/en/services/labour-offices.aspx.

  6. I am having trouble getting paid by my school, university, training institute, what can I do?

    Please contact the Ministry of Emiratisation and Human Resources and discuss your eligibility for payment through your legal agreement with them: https://www.mohre.gov.ae/en/services/labour-offices.aspx.

  7. My school has just cut my salary until the school premises re-opens to students. Is this allowed?

    In line with regulations from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE), employers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic may reduce or stop the salaries of employees. Employers must continue to provide residency visas and health insurance during this time.

  8. My school has refused to discount fees for parents, but is cutting salaries for teachers. Can it do this?

    Each school is in a different financial situation. Schools may decide on a number of different solutions to ensure they are able to continue providing education to students next academic year.

  9. I do not agree with my school’s decision to decrease my salary. Who can I contact?

    Please get in touch with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation on 80060 or visit their website for more information.

School Access

  1. How are students able to receive new textbooks? New icon

    Schools, universities and training institutes must adhere to the same rules when distributing books. They can deliver books or request books to be picked up by an adult.
    In both situations, strict health and safety guidelines must be followed. If books are delivered, they must be received by an adult.

    Both the delivery driver and the adult must wear masks and gloves when exchanging books. The receipt will be sent online after delivery has taken place. Education institutes are already aware of these regulations.

  2. Can schools receive parents for a school tour?

    Families wishing to enroll their children in a school are currently not allowed inside the physical premises of the campus for a school tour or meeting.

Exams

  1. Are all international exams cancelled? New icon

    Some international exams have been cancelled, while others will go ahead under special conditions. In the event that the exam sessions cannot take place, each Board will decide how final grades will be determined. Please check with your school for details. 

  2. My child is at a private MoE school and has EmSAT exams coming up. Will these be held as scheduled?

    In line with directives from the Ministry of Education, EmSAT exams have been suspended for the 2019/20 academic year. Please contact your school directly for more details.

  3. Will internal school and university exams still take place as scheduled?

    Internal school and university exams can still go ahead, provided they do not require students to be physically present in a shared space. It is up to each school to assess their own capability to carry out these exams.

  4. What are the changes to the testing for the National Agenda Parameter that was planned for the end of this academic year (2019-20) during May-June testing windows?

    The National Agenda parameter tests scheduled during May-June have been postponed. For more details and any questions, please refer directly to the test providers. The exact dates of the testing windows will be communicated later by the providers.

Fees

  1. Will I be able to get a refund from the school to cover the days my children aren’t at school?

    No. Schools will continue to provide distance learning after the spring break.

  2. Can schools introduce extra fees for access to online learning resources and apps for Term 3 (Term 1 for schools starting in April)?

    All the fees you have to pay are included in the School Parent Contract. Schools are not allowed to include additional fees.

  3. My child is due to start the new academic year 2020/2021 in April. When do I have to pay?

    The first term fees are due at the beginning of the term in April.  Schools can collect tuition fees in a minimum of 3 instalments, due at the beginning of each term. For more details please see the KHDA Registration and Refund Policy.

  4. My child’s school has asked me to pay for next term’s fees. What options do I have?

    Schools are continuing to operate and provide education to students, though we also understand that many families are in a difficult financial situation. In these uncertain times, we ask schools and parents to come together compassionately and to find a solution that is agreeable to both.

  5. Can schools deny access to distance learning because of late tuition fee payments?

    All outstanding term fees need to be paid at the beginning of the term to enable student to continue access to distance learning.

  6. Parents are concerned they won’t be able to pay fees for Term 3. What can I do?

    Parents must continue to pay school fees during the distance learning period. If they are experiencing financial hardship and cannot pay, we ask schools and parents to come together compassionately and to find a solution that is agreeable to both.

  7. Our school want to offer parents discounts for Term 3. What are the regulations around this?

    Schools are free to offer a discount on school fees during the period of distance learning. Schools may also change payment terms to suit parents’ needs, such as offering monthly payment options. We ask schools to inform by emailing rpc@khda.gov.ae if they choose either of these options.

  8. Can I get a refund for Term 3 fees?

    In these exceptional circumstances, parents are entitled to a full refund of Term 3 fees provided they inform their school before the start of term on April 5.

    Receiving a refund on fees is the equivalent of a withdrawal of enrolment from the school. You will need to pay any outstanding balance to your school to receive academic certificates and reports.

  9. Why do I have to pay school fees if my kids are learning from home?

    Schools will continue to provide distance learning. Paying your school fees on time means that your children’s learning will continue uninterrupted. It also means that your children’s teachers will continue to be paid, and that schools will be able to offer the same facilities and services when they reopen.

    We understand that this is a difficult time for many parents, both emotionally and financially. If you are concerned about your ability to pay school fees on time, please discuss this with your school.

  10. I’ve already paid transportation fees for next term. Am I entitled to a refund?

    All bus fees for Term 3 (Term 1 for Indian & Pakistani schools) must be refunded to parents.

  11. My child has a Learning Support Assistant at school. The LSA has not been able to support us online. Do I still need to pay for this service?

    You should only pay for the service you are receiving. Your school must deduct the cost of the LSA from Term 3 fees.

  12. My employer has cut my salary. Do I still have to pay full fees for Term 3?

    Your school relies on your fees to keep providing education. If you’re concerned you won’t be able to pay fees in full, please discuss this with your school as soon as you can.

  13. I’ve already paid my child’s school for extra-curricular activities for Term 3. Am I entitled to a refund?

    Parents are entitled to a refund on all services that they will not be receiving in Term 3 (Term 1 for Indian & Pakistani schools). This includes extra-curricular activities organised by the school.

  14. Can I get a refund on Term 3 fees from my child’s nursery?

    Nurseries do not come under the jurisdiction of KHDA. If you and your child’s nursery haven’t been able to find a mutually agreeable solution, we suggest you contact Consumer Rights on 600 545 555 or email at: consumerrights@dubaided.gov.ae.

  15. My child's school is asking me to pay a 5% re-registration deposit for next academic year. Do I have to pay this?

    Schools may ask parents to pay a re-registration deposit to guarantee a place for their children for the following academic year. This deposit cannot be more than 5% of the total tuition fees, or AED 500/ (whichever is higher) and is deductible from the total tuition fees for the academic year. This re-registration deposit is optional. If parents choose not to pay it, the school will not be able to guarantee a place for their child for the next academic year.

Students of Determination

  1. How will students of determination be able to access distance learning?

    Teachers will adapt and differentiate the curriculum to consider the needs, abilities and learning preferences of students of determination. Teachers will also ensure that they maintain their students’ levels of engagement, participation and progress.

  2. How do students of determination access specialist support as part of their distance learning programme?

    For students of determination that access specialist services, such as speech and language therapy, as a key part of their educational programme this provision should continue. Many therapists and other specialists are providing access to remote therapy services. For a small minority of students who are unable to access online opportunities in a way that is helpful, schools should provide information, training and guidance to parents about how to apply therapeutic approaches in the home to aid the development of these targeted skills. This may include working with external specialists to develop bespoke packages of support.

  3. What is the expectation of a learning support assistant who is employed to support to a student of determination?

    Learning support assistants play a vital role in supporting the educational programme for student of determination. Under the supervision of the head of inclusion and designated teacher, the LSA should play a key role in supervising, supporting and monitoring the educational programme and the associated targets.

  4. What happens if a student of determination cannot access the school’s distance learning programme?

    For students of determination who are unable to access distance learning, schools should provide an alternative life-skills based programme that can be applied at home. This programme should embed subjects such as maths, english, and science in every-day activities such as making phone calls, writing emails, cooking and personal organisation tasks. Key skills such as communication, problem solving, working with others, using and applying number and independence should also be developed through these activities.

Indian and Pakistani schools


  1. How will my children be protected from infection during board exams?

    The UAE government has issued schools with clear instructions to make sure that students are in a safe and clean environment while taking exams:

    • Exam halls are to be cleaned and disinfected before and after every exam.
    • Students will be divided into small groups and kept at a safe distance from each other, with no more than 15 students per room.
    • Students will not have direct contact with one another.
    • Students who finish their exams will be dismissed immediately.
    • Bus services will be stopped during the exam period; parents or guardians are asked to drop students off before the exam and pick them up again immediately after.
    • A doctor or nurse will be present during the exam period to check on any student who may be showing signs of infection.

For more information about the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Please call:
- Estijaba Service on 8001717
- Dubai Health Authority on 800342 or
- Ministry of Health and Prevention on 80011111

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