As officials highlighted the possibility of opening educational institutions in September, parents have expressed concerns over the safety of sending children back to schools in the Gulf. Many parents have requested continuing with homeschooling citing breaches in social distancing and maintaining hygiene once the children are back to UAE schools after the summer recess. The concerns come amidst officials assuring partial attendance in schools on any given day.
“We will not send our children if the current [COVID-19] situation continues, even with masks on. It is not reasonable that we do not meet our family at home, but send children to mix with others at school,” commented a concerned mother whose child is admitted to a Gulf school.
Parents with younger children are cynical about physical learning, and many have also agreed for a gap year in their child’s education until the infection subsides or risks are mitigated. Other parents have echoed their distress regarding school reopening as COVID-19 cases surge in the Gulf with more than 42000 active cases till Tuesday.
“My son had five different viral infections in just the first two terms of school, and not a single one since distance learning began. He is very prone to contracting infections, and with COVID-19 being an infection, I am not at all comfortable sending him back to school,” commented a mother of a five-year-old.
However, parents are also cynical about the effectiveness of online learning or homeschooling in the long run.
“My daughter has started learning addition and subtraction. I cannot possibly continue teaching her other more complex concepts after I return to work full-time. But if I keep her home, she might forget these concepts. It’s a very difficult decision,” commented a parent.
Parents Plead for Fee Reductions
In UAE, the request to implement distance-learning models and homeschooling is nonetheless concurrent with petitions for fee adjustments.
Working parents are especially looking forward to a school fee reduction since they have taken responsibility of the child’s learning and simultaneously investing money in childcare.