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


Last updated: 12:00 PM – 7 April 2021

Frequently Asked Questions - Universities

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 to health, safety and travel in case it changed while we were working on updating this page.

Important Circulars

PDF icon  Protocols for the Reopening of Higher Education Institutions in Dubai 2020/2021

PDF icon  Circular “Reopening universities in the new academic year – 2020/2021” – 23 June 2020

COVID 19 Vaccinations New icon

  1. Are PCR tests mandatory?

    Effective from Sunday 11th of April 2021, employees who are eligible but choose not to be vaccinated must take the PCR test every seven days. This applies to all private education institutes in Dubai, including early learning centres, schools, universities and training institutes.

    PCR tests are also mandatory if symptoms of Covid-19 are present.

  2. Does this decision apply only to educators?

    No. This decision applies to all staff working at early learning centres, schools, universities and training institutes. It includes support staff, outsourced staff and casual or part-time staff.

  3. What are the eligibility criteria for the vaccine?

    All adults in Dubai are eligible to take the Covid-19 vaccine, with the exception of groups mentioned in this pamphlet from Dubai Health Authority.

  4. Can we choose the type of vaccine to take?

    There are a variety of vaccines available in Dubai. Please contact Dubai Health Authority for more information on this.

  5. Is it necessary for eligible, non-vaccinated staff to take the PCR test even if they are working remotely?

    All eligible and unvaccinated staff, whether working remotely or face-to-face, must take the PCR test every seven days.

  6. Do eligible, non-vaccinated staff have to take the PCR test when they are on holidays?

    It is not necessary to take the PCR test while on holidays.

  7. In which circumstances do I not have to take the PCR test every seven days?

    You do not have to take the PCR test every seven days if you are not currently eligible for the vaccine, or if you have already had your first dose. More information on Covid-19 vaccines and eligibility is available in this pamphlet from Dubai Health Authority.

Protocols for reopening Universities


  1. Can I return to university after my holiday abroad?

    • All students and staff must declare recent travel history by completing the DHA form online:
    • Universities will keep these declarations on file.
    • All students and staff who have returned from travel abroad require a negative PCR test with a 48-hour validity, in order to resume learning/working on campus.
    • If students do not have a negative PCR test result with a 48-hour validity, they will be required to access distance learning for 10 days from their arrival date.
    • Students who would like to resume onsite learning without completing their 10-day quarantine, should produce a negative PCR test.

    Please note that PCR test results are valid for 48 hours only from the date of result. The PCR test may be done at a Dubai airport or any approved DHA facility within the Emirate. Please follow up on the social media channels of DHA for the latest updates on testing centers and other COVID-19 related information.

  2. What are the protocols about?

    The protocols have been developed by the Government of Dubai. They’re in place to make sure there’s a consistent and effective approach to keeping everyone at the Higher Education Providers (HEPs) safe and healthy once HEPs open again in September.

  3. What’s included in the protocols?

    The protocols cover different areas of operation, such as:

    • Entry, and visiting procedures
    • Screening and contact tracing
    • Physical distancing arrangements
    • Academic Model

    The protocols are shared on this page. We encourage you to read them to understand how your HEPs will be protecting everyones’ health and safety.

  4. Will all HEPs have to comply with the protocols?

    Yes. All HEPs will have to comply with the protocols, but they have the freedom to implement them according to their own contexts.

    Each HEP will be different – please contact your HEPs directly to ask how they will be implementing the protocols.

  5. What if the situation changes?

    The protocols, and the way that HEPs implement them, will likely change as the days and weeks go by. Your Institute will keep you updated of any changes. KHDA will also update the FAQs regularly.

  6. Will all health and safety protocols that apply to schools also apply to universities?

    With a few exceptions, health and safety protocols for schools and universities are the same. The main differences are:

    • Food halls, cafeterias and other dining facilities may open, in line with the appropriate health and safety recommendations of the Ministry of Health and Community Protection and the National Authority for Emergency and Crisis Management .
    • Ensuring the operation and organization of university housing according to specific precautionary procedures and requirements.

    FAQs for Students

  7. What health and safety conditions will HEPs have to follow in the new academic year?

    Maintaining health and safety is everyone’s responsibility. Conditions to protect students and staff include:

    • Screening all students and staff for temperature at entry point
    • Maintaining physical distance guidelines as recommended by the relevant health authorities and reducing the head-count capacity in classrooms.
    • Limiting gatherings and suspending group activities such as celebrations, and sports events.

  8. Will all HEPs be open to all students?

    HEPs in Dubai differ in terms of size, location and number of students. In order to comply with health and safety guidelines, HEPs may choose a delivery model that best suits their circumstances and community. Be in touch with your HEP to know more about how they will be implementing the protocols.

  9. Can students take part in sport activities?

    Sports activities may continue considering the guidelines of the Dubai sports council. However, for the time being, swimming pools will be closed.

  10. Can HEP events still go ahead?

    HEP events and activities such as sports days, large gatherings or performances are not allowed for now.

  11. How will this affect HEPs fees?

    We ask HEPs and student to come together in the best interests of students to ensure that learning continues.

  12. Can I choose to study at home until I feel it’s safe?

    Each HEP will be offering different options for learning in the new academic year, in consultation with its student community. Please check with your HEP to see what options are available to you.

  13. Will buses be operating?

    Buses will be able to operate at 50% capacity, and must also comply with health and safety protocols. These include:

    • Taking the temperatures of all passengers boarding the bus
    • Keeping windows open as much as possible
    • Disinfecting handles, rails and other frequently used areas of the bus

  14. FAQs for HEPs

  15. How do we decide which model is best for us?

    The most important considerations are student’s health and safety, and ensuring that all students receive the best learning experience possible given the circumstances.

    Depending on HEPs size and resources, some HEPs may use existing spaces differently, or restructure classes and schedules, or consider a blended model that includes distance learning.

  16. KHDA has approved our operations model for the new academic year, but we’d like to make small changes. Do we have to ask for approval again?

    This depends on the changes you’d like to make. Please email our team for guidance.

  17. HEP staff are nervous about returning. What can we do?

    The first few days and weeks of the academic year will be a sensitive time for many parents, students and staff. We ask HEPs to prioritise emotional and mental health during this time, as well as physical health and safety. Everyone has a part to play in keeping the community safe.

  18. Will quality assurance reviews and HEC rating carry on as usual in the new academic year?

    Our current priority is a safe transition back for all students and staff. We will send updates and schedules about these reviews as soon as we can.

  19. Can we communicate with our students about our proposed plans?

    The HEPs may survey and seek input from the wider community about the proposed plans however, they can communicate the final plan only after KHDA approval.

  20. If my institution is accredited by the MOE, which guidelines do I need to follow?

    Institutions accredited by MOE must follow the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education.

  21. Will the approval of home campus be required to apply a particular model?

    For international branch campuses, the proposed education model for the Dubai branch should be approved by the Home Campus.

General Questions

  1. How can I find a company to deep clean my premises?

    Dubai Municipality publishes a list of recommended companies to clean and disinfect. Please take a look here:


  1. 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:

  2. Can I return to my university after my holiday abroad?

    The UAE Government has put in place specific protocols on the arrival of residents and tourists in the UAE from abroad. These protocols are updated regularly – please check the official website to learn more.

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

    Staff with high risk conditions (specific illnesses or immunocompromised) should be allowed to work from home, until further notice. Pregnant staff are also recommended to work from home or provide a “fit for work” certificate from their doctors.

Campus Access

  1. I live in university accommodation on campus. Am I expected to find another place to live?

    Common learning areas across universities will be closed for the rest of this academic year. You can continue to live within the residences on campus.

  2. Are universities still allowed to hold Open Days?

    Universities may conduct tours of the building to prospective students and their parents, provided physical distancing and other health and safety guidelines applicable to all university visitors are followed.


  1. 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.

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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