UAE schools, teachers extend support to vaccination drive

UAE schools, teachers extend support to vaccination drive

UAE's national vaccination drive in schools and educational institutions is steadily approaching 100 percent with the aim of inoculating all teachers and staff against COVID-19. According to various principals, there are some schools that have started reporting complete vaccination of the teaching and administration staff against the disease.

Last Monday, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) said that 70 percent of teachers in Dubai have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccines. On April 22, the Sharjah Private Education Authority announced that more than 82.2 percent of teachers and administration staff at schools in Sharjah have received their first dose, while over 70.3 percent have taken both doses of the vaccine.

Keen to participate in efforts

Dubai school principals affirmed that they faced no difficulties in encouraging the teaching and administration staff to take the COVID-19 vaccine. Dubai British Foundation is one of the first schools in the city to have vaccinated all its staff vaccinated. Meanwhile, other schools in its cluster including Dubai British School Jumeirah Park (DBSJP) and Dubai British School Emirates Hills (DBS-EH) have fully vaccinated 92 percent of their staff. These schools are part of the Taaleem education group in the UAE.

Speaking to the media, Rebecca Coulter, Vice-Principal of DBSJP, said the school's staff has been fully supportive of the national vaccination drive, adding that the teachers have been keen on participating in the process.

"Taaleem has been instrumental in organising appointments to allow the staff to receive the vaccine. We also received individual recognition from KHDA for our efforts to ensure our staff is vaccinated and safe," she added.

Isabelle Tonnesen, a class teacher at DBS-EH, has also received the COVID-19 vaccine. Expressing confidence in the efficacy of the vaccine rollout, she said that she is proud to have made her mark in fighting the unrelenting virus by getting vaccinated.

"As a teacher, I feel duty-bound to care for my students, parents, and staff team. The pandemic is not over yet but the efficacy of the vaccine rollout is certainly a step in the right direction," Isabelle Tonnesen said.

Simon Jodrell, Principal of DBS-EH, asserted that all staff including academic, administrative and auxiliary at the school have expressed keenness and proud to be a part of the UAE’s vaccination drive. With over 92 percent of its staff vaccinated against COVID-19, the DBS group has provided remarkable encouragement to the vaccination drive.

Lisa Johnson, Principal of American Academy for Girls, highlighted that being vaccinated against COVID-19 served as a huge morale booster for the school team. She noted all eligible staff of the school have received the vaccines and there have been no positive COVID-19 cases among the staff team since March 1.

“It was a bit like a celebratory field trip as we went as a group to get vaccinated. As educators, we have had to teach with a hybrid model and social distancing has dampened the spirit and liveliness that is at the heart of the school. The availability and variety of vaccines in the UAE have really provided the light at the end of the tunnel," she added.

Teachers hail UAE’s response to COVID-19

Lisa Johnson noted that the school's foreign staff have felt “fortunate” to be living in the UAE during the pandemic. She lauded the proactive response by the UAE against the COVID-19 pandemic that helped in curbing the virus spread and protecting all sections of society.

"The clear guidelines for safety procedures and availability of fast and economic testing, compared to many other countries, is a true point of pride for Dubai. Importantly, the rapid availability of free vaccines truly demonstrates the UAE’s commitment to the health of the citizenry," Johnson said.

According to Pali Nahal, acting Principal of Uptown International School (UIS), 99.5 percent of all eligible staff members at the school have received the vaccine. Nahal said that it was not challenging for the school to encourage teachers to take the vaccine.

"As an extra precautionary measure, we have also ensured all contracted staff, including cleaners and security staff, are vaccinated. We also extended the vaccination drive to offer the vaccine to our Grade 12 students," the Principal added.

Jonathan Bramley, vice-president for communications at GEMS Education, revealed 94 percent of all eligible employees across the group's network have been vaccinated. GEMS Education is the largest private school group in the UAE with 43 schools in its network.

Bramley expressed confidence in reaching the 100 percent mark of all vaccinated staff members in the next two weeks. He said that the group rolled out its ‘I Chose to Vaccinate’ campaign in January this year. The campaign has been highly successful in solving any doubts related to the vaccines among the staff. The campaign has helped in raising awareness about the significance and advantages of getting vaccinated as well as encouraging all eligible staff to receive the vaccine as soon as possible.

He further lauded UAE regulators and health authorities for providing continuous guidance and support to the school's efforts which facilitated the success of the vaccination drive. UAE's authorities prioritised vaccinations among the education sector and frontline workers along with helping the vaccinations for GEMS Education staff, Bramley added.

Share the article: