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Community commitment to safety guidelines has led to significant decrease in infections: UAE Government media briefing

Dr. Saif Al Dhaheri, the official spokesperson for the National Crisis and Emergency Management Authority (NCEMA), has stressed that vital sectors have proven their mettle in cooperating to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and accelerate the UAE's recovery, supported by the UAE's integrated, harmonious ecosystem and the compliance of community members, which, he said, has led to a significant decrease in the number of infections.

During the UAE Government media briefing on the pandemic today, Dr. Al Dhaheri thanked the health and education sectors and commended their work on ensuring the continued success of the UAE's educational system.

"During the previous media briefing, we announced the new national operational protocol for educational establishments during the COVID-19 pandemic," he said.

"Upon reviewing your inquiries regarding the new return-to-school protocols and guidelines, we would like to offer you the following clarifications: "Those aged 4 to 12 are required to take a PCR or saliva test every month regardless of their vaccination status, however, they may opt for distance learning. Those aged 12 to 18 will be given a notice period of 30 days starting from the first day of school to take the vaccine. During this period, all students will be required to undergo a PCR test every two weeks.

"After the 30-day notice period, fully vaccinated students over the age of 12 will be required to undergo a monthly PCR test, 14 days after taking the second dose, while unvaccinated students aged 12 to 18 and those who are medically exempt from taking the vaccine will be required to undergo a weekly PCR test, he further added, noting that all students have the choice of opting for distance learning.

"Concerning higher education students of universities, colleges and institutes, physical attendance will be only be allowed to those who are fully vaccinated, however, exempt students will be allowed to attend classes, provided they undergo weekly PCR tests," Al Dhaheri explained.

Teachers, administrative staff and service providers, he continued, must be fully vaccinated to work in educational establishments, and the green pass protocol must be implemented to monitor entry to establishments, he further added, stressing students of all ages are required to provide a negative PCR test result not older than 96 hours on their first day of school, while parents may enter educational establishments provided they have green status on their Alhosn app.

Numerous inquiries about people of determination have been received, he said, advising parents to use the distance learning option until each case is assessed individually to identify appropriate testing and vaccines.

Organising events in educational establishments will be allowed with full adherence to all applicable precautionary measures, as well as the implementation of the green pass protocol and proof of negative PCR test results, he further said, while pointing out that some details and guidelines of the protocol could vary in different emirates, and will be announced locally.

Al Dhaheri urged educational establishments to fully adhere to all the new precautionary measures, as well as social distancing guidelines, wearing face masks, and managing the entry and exit of students.

If anyone shows any signs of COVID-19 symptoms, the person in charge of health and safety must be informed about a potential case, along with parents, he stressed, explaining that they previously announced the formation of action teams known as the "Health and Safety Committee," which will monitor all activities to guarantee the implementation of the health and precautionary measures adopted in the country.

"The safe return of our children to school is a collective responsibility, but parents will have the greatest role in educating their children on the importance of such measures, which are elemental to ensuring their safety," Al Dhaheri added.

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