There have been many positive cases across the school but probably less than most schools in Dubai who have needed to close and go online. It has been a difficult two weeks because we have had a number of staff out of school and some students have been told to stay at home because we consider them to be close contacts.
The guidelines did not state that staff had to have a negative PCR test result before starting school on January 3. At Dunecrest, however, we go beyond the guidelines and we instructed all staff that they must provide a negative PCR test result before returning to school.
I would like to assure you that we are following all DHA and KHDA guidelines. In response to the pandemic, we are:
- Ensuring that all staff and students who have any symptoms stay at home.
- Contacting staff, students and parents immediately if our investigations deem them to be a close contact of a positive case.
- Keeping accurate records of positive cases and close contacts as required by the DHA, and working alongside the DHA daily.
- Disinfecting and fogging all common areas and classrooms multiple times each day and after each use of common areas.
- Keeping track of the number of COVID cases in a particular section of the school, or deciding if staffing is inadequate in that section, we have acted quickly and closed sections for a set period of time.
- Communicating with the KHDA for approval for any partial closures and providing data to the KHDA to justify staying open.
- Ensuring all students have access to online education if they are off school for COVID reasons.
- Ensuring there are no unnecessary group meetings of staff, students or parents.
There are strict guidelines about returning to school after being positive. These guidelines are followed, and I can assure you that any returning staff member or students have completed the quarantine period required and can prove their COVID status. Our medical department is recording all data and has direct access to the DHA.
Some parents have decided to keep their children out of school. I would ask that if this is the case, it is also important that children do not mix out of school at this time.
The additional KHDA guidelines were set for the first two weeks of school. I expect to hear from them by the end of this week and will pass on any further information as we receive it.