Incident Management and Emergency Readiness
COVID-19 Response Team
Schools shall set up a COVID-19 Response Team consisting of the following members:
- A “Team Leader”, ideally the Principal or Vice Principal.
- A “First Responder”, who must be a trained medical professional or healthcare provider, ideally the school nurse, and must be present in the school premises during the entire school day to offer emergency care to students, handle COVID-19 related incidents, and refer them appropriately if needed.
- A “Facilities Supervisor” responsible for the hygiene management/sanitization of the school and responsible for members/staff/student movements and utilization of facilities in the school premises.
- A “Contact Tracing Supervisor”, responsible for reviewing staff and student attendance records in case a student or member of staff reports testing positive for COVID-19. This person will identify and record the group of people who may have come in contact with the infected person. This role must be supported by trained members for contact tracing.
- A “COVID-10 Focal Person”, responsible for communicating with staff, parents and ADEK in the case of any COVID-related incident at school.
A quarantine room in or near the school clinic shall be set up and equipped in accordance with the approved specifications of suspected cases of staff or students. If the quarantine room is outside the clinic, then care must be taken when transferring a suspected case from the clinic to the room (ensure physical distancing and mask-wearing).
A specialized nurse in the school clinic to take the necessary preventive measures for suspected cases and to inform the concerned authorities.
The space must be adequately ventilated and have its own separate bathroom with toilet and hand washing facilities.
If the space is to be used by multiple people, there should be at least 1 bed available and physical distancing of at least 2 m should be maintained.
If the school enrolls male and female students in Cycles 2 and 3, gender segregated spaces should be provided in the form of two quarantine rooms, each with their own ensuite bathroom.
Essential supplies such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including surgical masks, gloves, single-use long-sleeved aprons or gowns and face shields must be present in the quarantine room. N95 masks should be available for the school nurse when handling suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Cleaning supplies such as an approved disinfectant, rubber gloves and PPE for cleaning staff must be available in the quarantine room.
A trained medical professional must always be available in/near this quarantine room when a patient is admitted.
The medical professional must always maintain a distance of 2 m from the suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patient. If this is not possible, the medical professional must wear PPE before approaching the patient.
Schools are not allowed to manage or administer any medicines for symptomatic relief of COVID-19 symptoms without parental consent unless deemed lifesaving or essential. If a school carries medicines and/or equipment for dealing with medical emergencies, it must ensure consent of the student’s parent/guardian and administer any treatment only through a trained medical professional at their own risk. The administration of paracetamol is allowed if parents will take a while to arrive to reduce fever. If a student is short of breath, basic low flow oxygen can be administered until he/she is moved to hospital.
Under no circumstance should schools try to manage any COVID-19 cases on their own. In case a patient’s condition deteriorates and emergency services are required, the medical professional must follow existing procedures for dealing with medical emergencies.
The student with an onset of COVID-19 symptoms should be moved to the quarantine room and picked up by a guardian as soon as possible. In the case of a staff member, they should follow the medical professional’s recommendations.
Managing an Incident at School
In this section, a “COVID-19 related incident” refers to a student or staff having sudden onset of symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, cough or sore throat with or without fever.
In case a COVID-19 related incident occurs where a student is experiencing symptoms, their teacher must immediately inform the Team Leader, and provide the student with a surgical mask if he/she is able to tolerate wearing the mask.
The Team Leader must arrange for the First Responder to collect the student from their classroom and move them to the quarantine room while keeping a distance of 2 m from them, and ensuring that the student avoids touching high-contact surfaces such as railings, doors, etc.
The Team Leader must also instruct the Facilities Supervisor to immediately have the classroom cleaned and disinfected, especially the affected student’s desk and belongings.
The Team Leader must also inform the COVID-19 Focal Person, who will call the student’s parent/guardian to have them picked up immediately to be taken home/to a hospital.
In case a student or staff reports that they have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been in contact with a positive case or suspected to be infected by the virus, the COVID-19 Response Team must immediately follow the relevant protocols included in the Guide for Private Schools COVID-19 Response Teams shared by ADEK’s COVID-19 Incident Management Team.
Ensure that all school staff and COVID-19 Response Team members are aware of the protocols outlined in the Guide for Private Schools COVID-19 Response Teams and are clear on the actions required to handle any positive or suspected case (via a clear checklist, process charts, etc.)
As per the laws and regulations of civil defense, dedicated exit routes must be maintained clear at all times to permit prompt evacuation. They must be unobstructed and only used in case of fire or emergency.
Any physical distancing arrangement should take that into account and should allow students to evacuate safely.
Any adaptations to regular emergency drills (i.e. fire, earthquake, evacuation, etc.) will be communicated to schools at a later time in conjunction with the Abu Dhabi Civil Defense.