Safe Operations

Safe Operations


Incident Management and Emergency Readiness 

Last update: 24 August 2020

Updated sections: 

- Establishing a Quarantine Space within the School Premises
- Emergency Readiness

Protocols for Contact Tracing and Reporting COVID-19 related Health Concerns to Relevant Health Authorities

In case a student or member of the staff reports that they have tested positive for COVID-19, the school must:

  • Give leave to the person and arrange for them to continue to learn or teach online depending on their personal preference and health status.
  • Immediately use student/staff attendance data to identify the group of people who had been in contact with the affected person during the period of 2 days before the onset of symptoms (for symptomatic COVID-19 cases) and from the date of swab collection for asymptomatic cases.
  • Inform this identified group of people about their potential exposure to COVID-19 without disclosing the identity of the person who has tested positive. In the case of students, the school must inform the parents of their child’s potential exposure.
  • Send this exposed group of people home and advise them to home quarantine for 14 days from the last exposure with the COVID case. The members of their household do not need to self-isolate unless the exposed person subsequently develops symptoms. In case a young child is exposed, a parent or carer may also need to self-isolate with them.
  • Share guidance with this group on observing symptoms and ensuring personal safety over 14 days in case they have been infected with COVID-19.
  • Report the infection and the number of potentially exposed people to ADEK and Abu Dhabi Public Health Center (ADPHC) using the infectious diseases notification (IDN) system.
  • Ensure that all school staff /concerned supporting members are well aware of the above protocol and the detailed plan and actions required during any positive or suspected case (via a clear checklist, process charts, etc.)
  • Each school should have an active group email and the responsible members should be included for quick updates. Concurrent meetings/e- meetings for quick updates are required.

Setting Up a Response Team with Defined Roles in the School

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 and manage 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 affected person. This person must be supported by trained members for contact tracing.

A “COVID-19 Focal Person”, responsible for communicating with staff, parents, ADEK and the Department of Health in the case of any COVID-related incident at school.

Establishing a Quarantine Space within the School Premises

A quarantine room in or near the school clinic should be established and equipped in accordance with the approved specifications of suspected cases of staff or students. If the quarantine room is outside the clinic, then the suspected case must wear a mask while transferring from the clinic to the room.  

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 social distancing of at least 2m should be maintained. 

If the space is to be used by multiple people, beds should be placed at least 2m apart from each other.

If the school enrolls male and female students in Cycle 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 COVID case.

Cleaning supplies such as a hypochlorite-based surface 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 2m from the suspected COVID-19 patient. If this is not possible, the medical professional must wear PPE before approaching the suspected 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 is required, the medical professional must follow existing processes for dealing with 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.

Guidance on Protocols for Managing a COVID-19 Related 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 2m 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/legal guardian to have them picked up immediately to be taken home/to a hospital.

The criteria for returning to school includes two negative consecutive results and clinical improvement, or the completion of 14 days since the first positive result.

Guidance for School Clinic Staff

Schools shall have School Clinics on the premises as per Policy 64 of the Private Schools Policy and Guidance Manual 2014-15.

Schools shall employ a full-time school nurse who holds a valid Department of Health (DoH) healthcare professional license for registered school nurses.

Clinic staff shall verify that all furniture, PPE (for clinic staff but also for students/staff developing symptoms while on school premises), and other equipment required by the healthcare authorities are available and stocked, and that any other requirements regarding the clinic’s physical space have been met.

The school clinic should have an updated list of all staff and students who have high risk medical conditions (DM, HTN, cardiac disease, immunosuppression, asthma, etc.)

The school nurse should report confirmed COVID-19 cases (students/staff with positive COVID-19 PCR result) using the infectious diseases notification system.

Clinic staff shall work with the COVID-19 Taskforce to ensure all staff and students are aware of the availability of their services, the location of the clinic, as well as COVID-19 related protocols.

All clinic staff should have full awareness of the needs of Students of Determination. These include any communication, sensory, physical, emotional or behavioral needs. These needs should also be clearly communicated through a Student Profile to any health professionals involved in an emergency.

Specific COVID-19 training for school clinic staff will be communicated at a later time in conjunction with relevant authorities.

Emergency Readiness

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 social distancing arrangement should take that into account and should allow pupils 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.