Coronavirus: Sheikh Mohammed says looks forward to ‘safe start’ to school year in UAE

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In remarks after reviewing preparations for the new school year amid the coronavirus pandemic, Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said on Tuesday that the safety of students and teachers is a top priority, adding that he is looking forward to a “safe start” for the million-strong pupils across the United Arab Emirates, according to a statement carried by the state’s news agency WAM.

“We look forward to a safe start and in accordance with the best safety standards for more than a million students within the education system in the Emirates,” said Sheikh Mohammed, who is also the country’s Vice President and Prime Minister.

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He added that “The UAE is well aware of the importance of smart learning as it invested earlier in the digital infrastructure. Distance learning will be integral part of educational system... This is the future,” said Sheikh Mohammed.

“It is a joint responsibility between school and home to ensure a safe and secure educational environment.”

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Sheikh Mohammed’s remarks came as he reviewed preparations for the new school year 2020-2021 and the various precautionary measures that will be implemented by schools amid the pandemic.

Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, Deputy PM and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and Mohammed Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, were present during the presentation which was made by Hussain Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, and Jameela Al Muheiri, Minister of State for Public Education.

A picture taken on March 15, 2020 shows school buses parked outside a closed school in Dubai. (AFP)
A picture taken on March 15, 2020 shows school buses parked outside a closed school in Dubai. (AFP)

Emirates Transport prepares to transport 265,000 students for new academic year

Meanwhile, and in a related development, Emirates Transport concluded its preparations to transport nearly 265,000 students enrolled in public and private national schools for the 2020-2021 academic year, by deploying 7,229 school buses equipped with the latest safety equipment to curb the spread of coronavirus, according to WAM.

Mohammed Abdullah Al Jarman, General Manager of Emirates Transport, said the company has prepared buses to transport students to and from 700 public and private schools, noting that it employs 7,059 drivers and 6,218 supervisors to carry out daily school transportation tasks, who have attended regular training programs organized by the company.

Erlier on Tuesday, the UAE reported one new coronavirus-related death and 339 infections, bringing the death toll to 377 and the total number of registered cases to 67,621.

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