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Open Letter from a DAA Parent on their experience with COVID19
UPDATE: What do I do if I or someone in my household tests positive for COVID-19?
It is your obligation to notify the school immediately if anyone in your household is tested and confirmed positive for Covid19. Please inform your Divisional Principal and immediately begin distance learning. Please contact Divisional Secretary for support.
What happens at school once a positive case is confirmed?
Once a positive case is confirmed, school leadership/medical team work with health authorities to identify a list of those in close contact. Close contacts receive a call from their Principal to advise that they stay in quarantine for 14 days. It is critical that your parent contact details are correctly on file with the school. This includes emails and local mobile numbers.
Who is considered a close contact?
- Anyone that is considered to have been in close proximity to a positive case. Anyone that has spent longer than 15 minutes, at a distance of less than 2 meters, including people you study with, work with or travel on a bus with. Also includes your family, and anyone that resides in your household.
- Contact tracing will begin from 2 days before the onset of symptoms or the positive PCR test result.
What’s expected during quarantine?
- You MUST stay at home for 14 days. Monitor yourself for any symptoms of COVID-19. If you develop symptoms, seek medical advice immediately and get a PCR test. If you test positive, you must notify the school immediately. Read the Importance of Home Quarantining & the Coronavirus Home Quarantine Guide. If you are unsure about your particular circumstance, please contact DHA 800 DHA 800342.
How do I return to school?
- If you have quarantined for 14 days, you must then present yourself to the school Health Clinic where our medical team will assess you for signs and symptoms. The Health Clinic will provide the student with a School Clearance Certificate that can be presented to the divisional secretary to return to class.
- If you have had a positive test result and are returning to school, you must present a De-Isolation Certificate from the Dubai Health Authority, presenting yourself to the School Health Clinic for assessment, to make sure you are clear of signs and symptoms and then issued a School Clearance Certificate that you would present to the divisional secretary to return to class.
Will students be required to quarantine if they have traveled back from summer holiday?
The current situation is a dynamic one and we will keep you up to date with the latest rules and guidelines from the regulators and health authorities.
We have received communication from KHDA informing us that ‘students under the age of 12 with a travel history will have to undergo mandatory 14 days distance learning from their date of arrival’. If this is relevant to your child or children, please ensure you follow this requirement from KHDA strictly.
We thank you for your patience and understanding.
Please contact our healthoffice_daa@Gemsedu.com / 04 704 9761 for assistance.
If my child is sick, can (s)he still sign into the classroom and learn remotely?
Yes, you can still access the lessons. However, if you are not online all day and for each period, then you will be marked absent.
Can we change our mind from 50/50 to remote or vice versa?
Please make an official request to the divisional secretary via email.
Do students who are not on campus and learning remotely need to be in uniform?
Yes. In our new blended model, the students at home will have a view of the classroom and be interacting with the class.
What do we do if we are a new family who have visited Threads but they do not have the sizes we require in stock?
We have been informed that a few of our new students have been unable to secure an appointment with Threads until next week or that the items were not in stock. In this scenario, we ask that students wear something similar in nature to the uniform. For example, dark pants or skirt and a light blue/grey button down shirt or polo. (no jeans please).
Existing students are able to wear last years uniform.
If my child is in a different time zone, can they watch the recorded sessions later?
Students on the home learning schedule or who have opted for 100% remote learning are expected to be online and engaged in the live sessions during school hours (Dubai time).
Will the school facilitate the opportunity for parents to connect, despite not being on campus?
Yes, DAAPA our Parent Association has already hit the ground running! Check out the SPOTS DAAPA PAGE for the latest information.
Where can parents see the progress of scores and grades?
- In MS and HS, currently, you will continue to access your grades through Powerschool Unified Classroom.
- In ES, ongoing feedback on learning will be provided through the Seesaw platform.
- For a summary of DAA Platform's please click HERE
How will students enter the campus?
Upon arrival at school, students will pass through a number of designated entrance
points. The entrance points will be fitted with 4 thermal imaging cameras, which will
record each student and staff member’s temperature so it is imperative that all students use designated entry points. Please review the divisional pages for further detail.
A designated and trained security guard will monitor the system throughout the day. A process is in place to manage any students identified with a temperature greater than 37.5 degrees Celsius.
Anyone with a temperature of 37.5 will not be allowed entry. These students will be taken to a dedicated medical room within the school, where further temperature and medical checks will be made, and families subsequently notified.
Families are to drop off and pick up at designated areas only in designated timings with no interaction inside the school. There will be no access to the rest of the school premises by family members or visitors. Family members are given a maximum time limit of 10 minutes in the designated area to pick up / drop off with no crowding, maintenance of a 2 meters distance, and wearing masks at all times.
Are you offering discounts this year?
The GEMS Covid Relief Program was offered for term 3 of last year and there is no additional program for this year. There were no increases to tuition for the 2020-2021 school year. Our finance team will work closely with families on a payment plan if you are unable to make payments on the 3 term payment schedule of Sept 1, 2020 –Term 1/ Jan 1, 2021 – Term 2/ Apr 1, 2021 – Term 3.
Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on payment options.
When will my child attend school?
The first full day of school will be August 30th for KG2- Grade 12, either on campus or in remote learning depending on the grouping of the students. Orientation for new students to KG1 will take place on August 30th.
In order to comply with all social distancing measures, classrooms can accommodate students at 50% occupancy. Therefore, we will be dividing the classes (grades 1-12*) into two cohorts - A group and B group. The rotation schedule will function as follows:
Week 1 - Sunday to Thursday AABBA.
Week 2 - Sunday to Thursday BBAAB.
* UPDATE as of September 27th - All Elementary Students will be on campus everyday. A blended learning environment will no longer be applicable to KG1 through grade 5. Parents have been given the option to select 100% remote learning.
Can I drop off my child in the classroom or wait for him/her in the lobby after school?
As per the KHDA Protocols for the Reopening Private Schools in Dubai, only one family member or guardian is allowed to enter the school premises for drop off/pick up of his/her child. People with compromised medical conditions, including the elderly, should not come for drop off and pick up. Families drop off and pick up at one designated area and designated timings with no interaction inside the school. There should be no access to the rest of the school premises by family members and visitors. Family members should be given a maximum time limit of 10 minutes in the designated area to pick up / drop off with no crowding, maintenance of a 2 meters distancing, and wearing masks at all times. Meetings are encouraged to take place online, unless there is a critical need for one to one meeting which should take place on an appointment by email basis and will need to be made and approved beforehand.
In accordance with the KHDA directives above, we ask that parents please drop off and pick up at the designated entry zones as identified on the School MAP and at the designated times for your child’s division. Wearing a mask, social distancing, and not congregating for more than ten minutes will protect the health and safety of the entire community. If you require a meeting with your child’s teacher or administration, please contact them directly via email to make arrangements for an on-line conference.
How will students change for PE?
The regulations state that all changing rooms will be closed. Therefore, on PE days, students will wear their PE kit to school and remain in their PE uniform all day. Please wait for instructions on when this will begin, as we determine which units of study will be taught.
UPDATE Why isn’t a 100% return of all students an option?
As per the KHDA Protocols for the Reopening Private Schools in Dubai, the classroom area should support sufficient room for groups to maintain physical distancing of at least 1.5 meters per child in each classroom provided everyone wears a mask. Student ratios will vary depending on the size of the classroom. The school will have the liberty to decide on the number of students per class as long as a safe distance of at least 1.5 meters per child or person is maintained.
Following a review of our facilities, in order to align with the above directives, this means that most of our classrooms can only accommodate approximately 13 students.
AS OF SEPTEMBER 27th, all Elementary students will be able to learn on campus everyday. Please see Elementary page for details.
Will sports teams function and tryouts begin in the first term?
The tentative plans are to follow a phased-in approach to introduce athletics and activities into the program. The first phase, by mid-September will begin with virtual activities and individual sports camps focusing on skills. Additional phases to allow for competitive and recreational Intramurals and teams will follow as determined and directed by the regulatory authorities. Please see the Athletics Page for additional detail.
How will new students be welcomed with the blended learning model?
Orientation is planned for our new students to DAA with an opportunity to attend and tour the school. Given the Covid-19 restrictions, the on-campus orientation this year will be only for students. We will plan virtual orientation and on-boarding sessions for parents separately. More information will be shared with our new families directly from our divisional principals on the timing and agenda for orientation.
What if my child has a sore throat or is not feeling well?
A policy of “staying at home if unwell” for students, teachers or school staff with symptoms will be enforced. We encourage you to check your child’s temperature before leaving home and to keep them at home if they are displaying any symptoms that can qualify them as a suspected case of Covid-19.
· Runny nose
· Cough / sneezing
· Throat pain
· Body aches
· Chest pain or difficulty of breathing (Please seek urgent medical advice from your nearest health care facility)
Please review our Health Clinic Covid-19 Guidelines HERE.
I have children in different divisions, will the school keep them in the same cohort?
We will do our best in order to keep siblings in the same cohort in order to minimize commute and scheduling conflicts for families. Once the A/B Groupings are determined, these will be final.
Will prayer rooms be available for students?
As per the KHDA Protocols for the Reopening Private Schools in Dubai, Prayer rooms should remain closed, unless the government is allowing prayer rooms to open across the different facilities in Dubai. We will monitor the advice from the authorities and make prayer rooms available as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.
Will students and staff wear masks?
Teachers and students above the age of 6 are required to wear face masks. Face masks can be removed during strenuous physical activity. It is suggested that students bring two disposable masks to school per day or one reusable option. It will be the responsibility of the students to ensure that they bring the required number of masks each day and ensure any reusable masks are washed in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines.
What will it look like when my child is not in the classroom?
The group not in school will access learning online through the use of webcams and numerous platforms used during remote learning. We have learned so much during our experience from March to June, and have taken that knowledge to further refine and enhance the remote provision. This summer we have installed over 230 webcams in the classrooms. This tool will allow students to experience the classroom environment, as well as work independently as directed by the learning plan.
What will be the school timings?
In order to minimize overcrowding during entry and exit times, a staggered timing has been set.
What protocols are in place to ensure the safety of our learning community?
The GEMS health and safety department has established a robust set of health, safety and operational procedures and protocols, in order to support the safe reopening of schools. Quality assurance checks will also be conducted to monitor the effectiveness.
Desks will be set at a safe distance apart of 1.5 meters, and physical markings will be used in classrooms to ensure desks remain in the correct locations. Teachers will be positioned at the front of the classroom area, at a distance of 1.5 meters from the front row desks.
Safety markings will be set up throughout corridors, the markings will dictate safe distances of 2 meters. Students will be monitored to ensure adherence. One-way pedestrian flows will be required and will be marked out accordingly.
Seating arrangements will be clearly marked out in canteen areas, no students will be permitted to sit directly adjacent or next to one another. Students from the same class must adhere to 1.5 meter safe distances, students from different classes must maintain 2 meter safe distances.
Schools will operate pre-packed lunch service, with no live cooking taking place at school. Students are also permitted to bring their own food from home. Water dispensers are not permitted to be used.
What training will the staff have before school opens?
All staff will undergo specific Covid-19 training prior to the start of the new academic year. In addition, teachers will regularly communicate and provide information to students on the associated risks, safe practices and controls. All students will be briefed on this plan prior to the start of the academic year.
What are the cleaning and hygiene procedures?
Our school has conducted a review of all potential frequent touch points, including, door handles, light switches, handrails, taps and washbasins, etc. Increased cleaning and sanitization will be conducted across these areas throughout the duration of the day. A thorough cleaning of the school will be conducted each day by an approved vendor, using approved Municipality chemicals. A thorough deep clean and sanitization of the school will be conducted at the end of each week. Cleaning staff will wear the required PPE for all cleaning activities.
In the event there is a potential or confirmed COVID-19 case, how will it be handled?
Managing a potential Covid-19 case in school
If a student is suspected of being a positive Covid-19 case, they will be immediately removed to the school isolation room. Only the school medical and emergency services team are permitted to enter the isolation room and full PPE must be worn when entering the room. The students’ parents will be contacted immediately by the school doctor and the required authorities will be notified. The school will strictly adhere to the health authority requirements for managing and transferring any suspected cases of Covid-19. All areas which may have been accessed will be thoroughly deep cleaned and sanitized following any suspected cases. These areas will be closed immediately until the deep clean is completed. Tracing will be conducted to identify those who may have come into contact with the student or staff member. Health authority requirements will be strictly adhered to. This may include additional testing and isolation of persons who have come into contact with a positive case. Each school will have a detailed medical procedure plan in place, which will detail the emergency procedures for each school. This will be developed in consultation with the GEMS Senior Medical Supervisor and school medical teams.
Managing a confirmed case
A confirmed case could be in the form of a student, staff member or contractor. In such cases the person will be in isolation for a period of time, this may be at home or in a medical facility. Upon receiving notification of a confirmed case, a tracing exercise will be conducted by the school. This will identify all other persons who may have come into contact with the positive case.
Any persons who have come into close contact with the confirmed positive case will be sent home from school immediately, with a potential isolation period of 14 days. Further advice from the authorities, including the health authority and education authority, will be required on this aspect. No persons who have tested positive will be permitted to return to school without first providing evidence of a negative test result, in line with authority requirements. All relevant areas will undergo a thorough deep clean and sanitization exercise.
Communication of a confirmed case
It is important that parents are provided with suitable information regarding confirmed cases within the school. It is also vital that people’s individual privacy is maintained.
Parents will be notified when there is a positive case to a class member or class teacher. The required procedures will be followed for notifying the authorities. A detailed GEMS medical manual has been developed and the manual complies with UAE health authority requirements.
Will school buses operate?
Bus routes will be revised based on the demand of parents wishing to continue to use bus transportation and to accommodate the new staggered start times.
- All temperatures are taken at the pick-up points and any cases will be documented and notified to the relevant parties
- Daily records will be maintained
- Bus will be disinfected before and after each use
- Adequate signage will be placed inside the bus
- Procedures are in place should a child display signs of COVID 19 while in the bus
- Marking will be on the seats for guidance
What will be the communication channels for families?
Our bi-weekly SPOTS newsletter is our primary communication channel.
A divisional weekly communication will be published and will focus on both academic and health/safety updates. Homeroom teachers will continue to use Seesaw as a communication platform for both students and parents.
A grade level newsletter is sent to all MS parents via the Heads of Grade every Thursday, which focuses on student wellbeing, celebrations, and the learning and assessments across each discipline.
A bi-weekly SPOTS newsletter is sent via DAA’s Parent Relations Executive with a message from the Principal, accompanied by any important updates and highlights to be shared with parents.
Any brief reminders will be sent as needed via SMS through DAA’s Parent Relations Executive.
Mrs. Murphy with special guests Jemma Lewis, DAA's Manager of School Operations and Dr. Mirrah Kandil discuss the measures in place to keep our community safe from the spread of COVID-19.
HEALTHhealthoffice_daa@Gemsedu.com / 04 704 9761
PARENT RELATIONSHilda Tabrizi email@example.com
GOVERNMENT RELATIONSSoheir Mohamed S.MOHAMED_DAA@gemsedu.com
SLICES CATERINGMs. Shevine firstname.lastname@example.org / 054 792 7509https://pay.slices.ae/support/ticket/submit
STS BUS SERVICEKelvin Sicat email@example.com / 04 704 9755