Students at private schools in the UAE emirate of Sharjah returned to the classroom on Sunday after six months of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Schools in Sharjah closed in March as authorities across the United Arab Emirates put restrictions on movement in place to combat the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
Their reopening comes almost a month after the academic year began after authorities twice delayed it by two weeks due to concerns over the “health status” of the emirate.
Private schools in the emirate had arranged free COVID-19 tests for all returning students, who have to present a negative test result, according to local media reports.
Not all of the roughly 120 private schools in Sharjah will be fully reopening, however, with some opting to follow a phased opening plan. Students at some schools also reportedly had the option to choose to continue distance learning for the autumn term, while others are following a hybrid schedule in which they attend in person only some days of the week.
Sharjah is the third most populous emirate in the UAE after Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and is home to around 213,400 students, according to the census in 2015.