Hundreds of high school students in the United Arab Emirates’ capital Abu Dhabi who opted to attend in-person classes were tested for the novel coronavirus for free ahead of the new academic school year set to begin next week, according to local media reports.
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Drive-through centers and government facilities around Abu Dhabi welcomed students on Wednesday and Thursday, authorities said.
Students will need a proof of a negative test result to their school campuses on September 27.
“As per the schools reopening guidelines, all pupils aged 12 years and above, will be required to undergo a Covid-19 PCR test prior to joining schools,” a spokeswoman for the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge, the regulator for all schools in the emirate, told The National.
Cycle 3 students: To those of you physically returning to school to prep for your exams this year, they say distance makes the heart grow fonder, so we’re sure you’re excited about going back to school! In the lead up to your return, don’t forget these important rules! pic.twitter.com/0gjJYepSRr— التعليم والمعرفة (@ADEK_tweet) September 24, 2020
Schools across the capital were forced to close as part of efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
However, students under the age of 11 were allowed to return earlier this month. Students between the ages of 11 and 14 will continue to study from home until further notice, authorities said.
Students in grade 9 to 11 who are expected to take international exams – including the GSCEs, A-levels, International Baccalaureate or an equivalent exam – were given the option of attending in-person classes.
The pupils taking the tests have not attended in-person classes since March, when schools across the country were closed to slow the spread of the virus.
Younger children, between the ages of three and 11, or up to grade 5/year 6, have since returned.