Wreaking havoc, disturbing everyday life activities, and putting strains on each economic sector, the 2020 pandemic has also changed the lives of teachers, who have had to show remarkable flexibility and act swiftly to help students receive the education they deserve as if nothing has changed.
In the UAE, the school year started about a month ago with over 33K teachers and thousands of other educators and administrators doing everything they can to facilitate the educational process that provides the highest quality of schooling, while protecting the health and lives of students and their families.
Last Spring as the country recorded the first cases of COVID-19, teachers in most UAE schools were asked to carry on their daily tasks remotely using the internet. With very little preparation for the emergency, schools reported successful outcomes as teachers initiated using smart technology applications and software to stay in touch with their students on daily basis.
UAE teachers are lucky to work in a country with one of the world's highest rates of internet connections, as 99% of residents are connected to the internet, according to the 2020 Digital report, which has helped most students have access to their online classes on a daily basis.
However, private schools in the UAE have reported financial damage due to the Coronavirus, as many other sectors in the country have laid off thousands of expat workers, which has forced whole families to leave the country; and consequently withdrawing their kids from schools. This has pushed many schools to either slash their teachers' salaries between 20%-50%, send teachers to go on unpaid leaves, or force them to resign.
Responding to reports of teachers losing their jobs in the wake of the pandemic, the Sharjah government had launched a campaign to penalize private schools that have sacked teachers earlier this year by revoking their licenses, in order for it to protect teachers' rights in the Emirate.
Now as the new school year enters its second month, UAE schools seem to report successful control over COVID_19 in schools, especially after having announced a hybrid educational approach, where teachers and students meet via the internet using software such as Microsoft Teams and Learning Curve for some subjects before they meet in person for others and on a select number of days.
In addition to educators and learners adhering to wearing face masks and social distancing measures, schools have also been required to run daily temperature checks for everyone in schools, and PCR tests for teachers once every two weeks so it keeps COVID-19 cases under control.
Despite the stressful time, teachers in the UAE have been exerting every effort to help students continue the learning process as safely and as efficiently as possible.
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