Reopening Plans 2021 - 2022
Entering the Academy
Upon arrival at the Academy, students will pass through a number of designated entrance points based on the Academy House system. The entrance points will be fitted with 4 thermal imaging cameras, which will record each student and staff member’s temperature. Two members of the Senior Leadership Team and Operations staff will be at these entry points. We encourage, where possible, for older siblings to bring younger siblings into the building. All students will enter the Academy without an adult. Students in Pre-K to Grade 2 will be collected by a member of the Teaching Team upon their arrival at the Academy. Students travelling by bus will have their temperatures checked before getting on the bus and again before accessing the building. A designated and trained security guard will monitor the system throughout the day.
A process is in place to manage all students identified with a temperature greater than 37.5 degrees Celsius. These students will be taken to a dedicated medical room within the Academy, 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 Academy. There will be no access to the rest of the Academy facility 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 2 metres distance, and wearing masks at all times.
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 the Academy. Quality assurance checks will also be conducted to monitor the effectiveness.
Desks are set at a safe distance apart of 1.5 metres, 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 metres from the front row desks.
Safety markings are set up throughout corridors, the markings will dictate safe distances of 2 metres. Students will be monitored to ensure adherence. One-way pedestrian flows will be required and will be marked out accordingly.
Until Health and Safety Restrictions allows greater flexibility, students will be eating their break snacks and lunch within classroom environments as well as in some communal areas set up for social distancing. Slices will operate a pre-packed lunch service as an option to pre-buy, with no live cooking taking place at the Academy. Students are also permitted to bring their own food from home. Water dispensers are not permitted to be used. Students should bring enough water for the Academy day.
Will students and staff wear masks?
Teachers and students above the age of 6 (Grade 1) are required to wear face masks. Face masks can be removed during strenuous physical activity. Face shields can be worn for those employees who are in direct contact with students. It is suggested that students bring two disposable masks to the Academy per day or one re-usable 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 training will the staff have before the Academy opens?
All staff have undergone 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 have been briefed on this plan prior to the start of the academic year.
What are the cleaning and hygiene procedures?
Our Academy has conducted a review of all potential frequent touch points including: door handles, light switches, handrails, taps and washbasins. Increased cleaning and sanitisation will be conducted across these areas throughout the duration of the day. A thorough cleaning of the Academy will be conducted each day by an approved vendor, using approved Municipality chemicals. A thorough deep clean and sanitisation of the Academy 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 the Academy
If a student is suspected of being a positive Covid-19 case, they will be immediately placed in the Academy isolation room. Only the Academy 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 Academy doctor and the required authorities will be notified. The Academy 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 sanitised 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. The Academy has a medical procedure plan in place which details the emergency procedures. This has been developed in consultation with the GEMS Senior Medical Supervisor and the Academy 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 Academy. 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 the Academy 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 the Academy without first providing evidence of a negative test result, in line with authority requirements. All relevant areas will undergo a thorough deep clean and sanitisation exercise.
Communication of a confirmed case
It is important that parents are provided with suitable information regarding confirmed cases within the Academy. 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 the Academy 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 where a child has a temperature over 37.5 degrees will need to return home until appropriate clearance is provided.
- 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 weekly Newsletter is our primary communication channel.
Homeroom teachers will continue to use Seesaw as a communication platform for both students and parents.
Homeroom teachers will continue to use Managebac and iSAMS as a communication platform for both students and parents.
Please view this video from our CEO, Dino Varkey: Dubai Media Office Champion GEMS Health & Safety