ISLAMABAD: Arab schools in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad started to reopen on Tuesday for the first time since mid-March, with precautions in place to guard against the coronavirus, ranging from obligatory face masks, temperature checks at the entrance and social distancing in classrooms.
The Sheikh Zayed International Academy Islamabad (SZIA), established by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan, the late president of the United Arab Emirates, and the Sudanese Arabic School, are resuming on-campus classes this week as per the orders of the Pakistani ministry of education. The Saudi School, however, has opted to continue with online classes.
“As per the regulations of Pakistan’s Ministry of Education, the school has started on-campus classes for grade 11 and 12 from today [September 15] and then from Thursday [September 17] for grade 9 and 10,” SZIA Islamabad Principal, Wafaa Abdul Ghaffar, told Arab News.
The school was still awaiting a final decision regarding when pre-school up to grade 8 would switch from online to campus class, Ghaffar added.
Students and teachers had been advised on various precautionary measures, she said, including that they bring a safety kit that included extra masks, sanitizer and gloves.
“To observe all precautions, we have placed a sanitizing gate, temperature check and twice a day proper disinfection of all school premises,” Ghaffar said. “We have 10 to 12 students in each class, so it is easy to observe social distancing in the seating plan.”
The principal of the Sudanese Arabic School, Fazal Badawi, said the school would open on September 21 with “full precautions.”
“We are changing complete furniture of the school and disinfecting premises daily as a precautionary measure against Covid-19,” he said. “The on-campus classes will start next week with complete compliance of coronavirus precautions.”
Abdul Mohsin, the vice principal of the Saudi School, said the school would continue with online classes for now and resume campus classes after directives from the Saudi government.
“The school has started its new session with online classes from the start of this month,” he said. “Our school system works on Saudi government’s policies and will open on campus classes after their [Saudi authorities’] decision.”
Tameem Abubaker Younis, a sixth grader at the Saudi School, said he missed his classmates and looked forward to the early resumption of regular classes.
“My studies are going very well but I still miss my classroom, class fellows and teachers,” he said. “I would like to go back to school soon.”