Over the next few days, public and private educational institutions in the UAE are preparing for the launch of a safe and successful 2021-2022 academic year, as per the deliberate plans and precautionary measures put in place to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure public safety.
These procedures aim to ensure an efficient educational process and the implementation of student and employee medical testing plans.
In a statement to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), the Integrated Transport Centre (ITC), an affiliate of the Department of Municipalities and Transport, said it is intensifying its preparations to provide student transportation services during the next academic year, by ensuring their safe transportation throughout the school year.
The ITC also announced a range of precautionary measures to be followed on school buses aimed at preventing communicable diseases and curbing the spread of COVID-19, in addition to enhancing awareness across school transport entities and all concerned parties of applicable precautionary measures, and implementing the best health and safety practices and preventive measures on their buses, to protect the health and safety of students, teachers, administrative staff, and transportation workers.
The ITC stressed it will implement a set of precautionary measures on school buses, such as supplying full protective gears for students while being transported, including thermometers to check their temperatures before boarding, hand sanitisers, face masks and air sanitisers, as well as making sure that all bus doors open automatically and can be controlled by the driver for a touchless experience. School buses must also be sanitised regularly after school hours with nationally approved sanitisation materials.
The precautionary measures to be implemented by the school transport sector also include regular temperature checks on drivers and supervisors before they transport students, and using signs to raise the awareness of bus users about the procedures to be followed to protect their safety.
To create a safe environment at all times and under all conditions, the ITC has adopted a range of guidelines that include increasing student transportation trips to and from school, dividing them into groups setting off at different times as per instructions from the Ministry of Education and the Department of Education and Knowledge, and equipping the bus fleet with plastic separators to separate bus drivers and students.
The Centre has also put in place a mechanism to enable reporting any infections among students, supervisors and drivers to schools and concerned authorities, as well as check the temperatures of drivers and supervisors using thermal temperature screening devices by school transport officers, along with placing labels on available seats to inform students.
Moreover, the ITC stressed that supervisors or drivers suffering from chronic diseases or weak immunity, will not be allowed to work on school transport, and all drivers and supervisors must respect social distancing with students at meeting points.
The Centre has prepared a set of policies and distributed them to all concerning parties, so they can perform their duties and commitments to protect students and ensure the highest levels of safety and security across the school transport sector.
The ITC went on to highlight the importance of fully adhering to and implementing the new guidelines and practices, noting that its school transport inspectors will intensify their field visits and inspection campaigns, to ensure bus sanitisation runs are in line with applicable standards.
During the UAE Government media briefing, the operations protocol for educational establishments during COVID-19 was announced, which includes several guidelines for operating national educational establishments, including nurseries, childcare centres and public and private schools.
News Source: Emirates News Agency