Schools should call-off lessons and should remain closed for the day, during such bad weather conditions, many parents said, expressing resentment over having to send their children to school Sunday.
“My child is very young and he suffers from dust allergy like the majority of children here. So it would be of great help if on days like this classes are called off,” Shaira L, mother of a 4-year-old said.
Especially if such bad weather conditions are expected, there is no reason why schools shouldn’t be closed for a day or two, she added.
Dubai’s education authority, Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), told Gulf News that schools have the flexibility to do the needful in response to the weather conditions and other operational issues prevailing on a particular day.
“KHDA is aware of some schools shutting down on Sunday,” Mohammad Darwish, Chief of Regulations and Compliance Commission in KHDA, said.
“At the start of the academic year, schools submit a calendar to KHDA that complies with the stipulated 175 school days per academic year.”
“If there is a change in the calendar submitted at the start of the year, schools are obliged to keep KHDA informed.”
Schools can call a day off, if needs be, and then make up for the lost time and lessons in the subsequent days or weeks, Darwish said.
The JSS International School in Al Barsha is one of the schools which closed for the day due to the sandstorm.
Repton School and the Delhi Private School (DPS), Sharjah, confirmed that they did not hold their extra-curricular outdoor activities yesterday. According to several parents, many other schools did the same too.
If it is known in advance that the weather is going to be bad, then schools should be closed as children could fall sick or could have breathing problems during sand storms, Cosie J S, wrote in a Gulf News website comment.
The wait to board the bus in the morning and get off in the afternoon was the worst for children, noted Rashmi Himesh, a parent.
DPS-Sharjah principal Vandana Marwaha said that an inter-school cricket event scheduled for yesterday had to be postponed. “It is risky for small children to be outdoor in such weather,” she said.
Dubai Indian High School CEO Ashok Kumar said that the turn out in the school was not affected yesterday and classes were held as usual.
Another reader suggested developing a contingency plan, wherein if visibility reaches a level that is not safe for driving then it could be declared as a no work day.
A reader from Sweden did not agree with the demand for a day off. “So everytime there is a sandstorm or too hot or too much rain people should be off and stay at home?” asked the reader in an online comment, adding that in Sweden people continue to work and children go to school even when snowstorms hit the city. It can come around 50cm of snow and temperature can go down to below minus 25C in the winter.
” You just have to act in a right way for different weather, drive slowly, be alert and try not to be outside more than necessary. Cover your mouth and nose to protect yourself from the sand and wear sunglasses or other protection for your eyes. No it is not a pleasant weather but we are living in a country full of sand and when it is windy it is and will be like this, we cannot close everything because of this,” said the reader.