Private school employees in Sharjah now need to undergo COVID-19 test every 14 days

Sharjah: Sharjah Private Education Authority (SPEA) has confirmed that it is evaluating the prevailing situation over the COVID-19 pandemic and has issued a circular to update the precautionary measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 in schools and private educational institutions.

In its circular, SPEA stated that based on the developments related to COVID-19, and in the interest of the safety of all staff and students at educational institutions in Sharjah, all workers in private schools and educational institutions must undergo a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test every 14 days, except for workers who have received the COVID-19 vaccine. If any staff member obtains a medical report or certificate approved by the health authorities, stating that they could not receive the vaccine owing to any prevailing medical condition, then it is incumbent upon the administration of the private institution concerned to ensure that the employee concerned undergoes a PCR test every 14 days.

The circular stipulated that if workers at private educational institutions need to visit the authority’s headquarters, they must present a negative PCR test report no more than three days old before entering the authority’s premises, except for those workers who have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The circular indicated that all educational institutions of the emirate are committed to feeding the TAMAM educational platform with information regarding the number of teachers and employees who have received the COVID-19 vaccine, the results of the tests conducted for COVID-19 and any other information that may be required by the authorities.

It was also mentioned in the circular that a corridor at Sharjah Expo Center had been designated for workers of private educational institutions who wish to visit the centre and get themselves vaccinated.

Headlines UK

More than 70% of women were unable to get paid leave during school closings

Employers do not want to enter the position of mothers

Under the Job Retention Scheme, employees can get furlough when caring for a high-risk person or child during school closures. Most often women do this, but employers do not want to enter their position, writes The Guardian.

The British trade union center TUC found that 71% of women who applied for leave were refused by their employer.

One of the mothers even quoted the rules of the Retention Scheme to her boss, but he offered to take the weekend off at his own expense. Another woman had to do all the work at night – after putting the children to bed. “I finish work at one in the morning, and at five in the morning my youngest child wakes up. I won’t last long with such a schedule “– said the woman.

TUC employees interviewed parents of both sexes: 3.1 thousand women and only 167 men decided to take on the responsibility of caring for the child.

According to TUC Secretary General Francis O’Grady, the current situation can neutralize all the success of society in achieving gender equality. At the same time, 75% of fathers were refused by the employer.


Vaccine: school staff must come before the elders, pleads an epidemiologist

School personnel should be vaccinated before the elderly since schools are among the only places to be open at the moment, argues epidemiologist Nimâ Machouf.

• Read also: Should we cancel the school break week?

For the moment, professors and other teaching professionals are at the bottom of the list in the order of priority established by the government, in the category of “workers in essential services under the age of 60”.

However, believes Nimâ Machouf, there is an urgent need to act in the context where the school network will be open during the coming weeks.

“It is true that the elderly are the ones who are going to suffer the most from the disease because the death rate is higher among them, but in the current context where society is in [confinement] and disturbed, the school sector can become a major factor of propagation, ”she told the QMI Agency on Wednesday.

Last Friday, number two in Public Health, Dr Richard Massé, announced that school staff and early childhood workers are now considered essential workers.

By virtue of the vaccination schedule, it can be assumed that workers in the education and child care network can be inoculated in early spring, late March or early April.

Given the time it takes for the vaccine to be effective once inoculated, the effects of vaccinating school personnel may not be felt until early summer, when the rate of virus transmission declines anyway. , laments Mme Machouf.

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Headlines UK

Parents are unhappy with the quality of free meals for schoolchildren

The government instructed schools to work out this issue on their own

Low-income families, whose children are entitled to free school meals, began to receive parcels of food at home during quarantine, writes The Guardian. The government contracted with Chartwells, which pledged to ship £ 30 worth of full meals.

However, parents were unhappy with the amount of food. The mother of one of the schoolchildren posted a photo of the contents of the package on Twitter: there was a loaf of bread, some cheese, a can of canned beans, two carrots, two bananas, three apples, two potatoes, a pack of pasta, one tomato and two chocolate bars. “To be honest, I could have bought a lot more for £ 30.”– added the woman. Later, the photo was posted by the deputy leader of the Labor Party, Angela Rainer.

The Department of Education agreed with the parents’ arguments, and Chartwells apologized and promised to make up for the difference in the number of products.

On January 13, during a fierce debate with the opposition, which demanded an urgent review of the issue of school meals, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a change in the scheme of free meals. Schools will now decide whether to send ready-made food parcels to low-income families or to issue food vouchers, The Guardian reports.


Should we cancel the school break week?

While experts and players in the education community oppose the cancellation of the March school break, the “father” of the spring break, Fernand Paradis, believes on the contrary that the exceptional context would justify his disappearance this year.

“Intuitively, I’m inclined to believe that the main thing is teaching. For this reason, I believe we have to put aside the break week this year, “he told the Newspaper in a telephone interview yesterday.

Fernand Paradis was the head of a Quebec school board when he managed, in 1979, in consultation with the teachers’ union, to establish the first week of spring break. The initiative snowballed.

Now 88, he recalls that spring break was created to allow students to drop out by doing a host of activities, many of which will not be possible this year.

Mr. Paradis is also concerned that students are behind in school due to the pandemic.

His opinion, however, is far from shared in the education network. Teachers ‘unions, parents’ representatives and school administrators oppose the wall-to-wall cancellation of spring break.

Not the solution

At the Regroupement des committees de parents autonomes du Québec, this is not considered to be the priority at this time. “There are more urgent things to do to help our students,” says his co-spokesperson Marc-Étienne Deslauriers.

At the Fédération des committees de parents du Québec, the president, Kévin Roy, believes that decisions regarding the school calendar must be made locally. Students in the Montreal area missed many more days of school than those in the Gaspé, he argues.

Several experts also agree that this is not the preferred solution.

“There is a lot of burnout this year. Maintaining spring break will give teachers a bit of a break. In terms of learning delays, the duration of teaching does not necessarily guarantee quality, “says Stéphane Allaire, professor in the Department of Educational Sciences at the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi.

Private schools are getting organized

In the private network, some schools are however planning to set up different formulas for the spring break, indicates the president of the federation which represents them, David Bowles. At Collège Charles-Lemoyne, where Mr. Bowles is director general, remedial courses will be offered to students in difficulty during the March break, he says.

On the health front, some also believe that canceling the spring break could prevent many families from taking vacations in the sun, with all the risk of contagion that these trips abroad involve.

However, a change in the school calendar is not the solution, according to epidemiologist Nimâ Machouf. “The federal government must close the borders, that does not make sense in the current context,” she says.

Education Minister Jean-François Roberge’s office says the intention is to keep the planned spring break “for now”.

Did you know?

  • In 1979, Fernand Paradis, then director of the Commission des écoles catholiques de Québec, established the first spring break, inspired by the “spring holidays” of schoolchildren in France.
  • In the mid-1980s, spring break extended to all schools in the province.
  • To keep to the school calendar, which must have 180 school days, schools had to move the start of the school year forward by one week at the end of August.

Divergent opinions

We ask a lot, both of the students and of the education staff, everyone will need this break. It will take more than a year to recover. Let’s take the time to do things right. ”

– Josée Scalabrini, President of the Federation of Education Unions (FSE-CSQ)

I hope they cancel the spring break. The children have several weeks to go back to school. My daughters would rather go to school than stay at home. “

– Sébastien Genois, father of three daughters aged 10, 12 and 15, Laval

A week off, after two months of effort, it will encourage the young people. This period of leave is an interesting landmark for them. ”

– Dr Gilles Julien, pediatrician

You have to think about doing things differently before changing the school calendar. There have been a lot of last minute changes in schools since the start of the year, you don’t need to add another layer. “

– Nancy Granger, professor in the Faculty of Education of the University of Sherbrooke

Headline USA

They were sweethearts in high school; 70 years later they meet again and decide to get married | The State

Out there it is said that the first love is never forgotten, a saying that the story that you will read next will be reaffirmed.

It turns out that octogenarians named Fred Paul and Florence Harvey met 70 years ago when they were both classmates in high school in Wandsworth, a small town in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

After a long time of living together, They finally decided to become boyfriends, a relationship that lasted 2 years as Paul’s family decided to move to Toronto.

“She was my first love. My first girlfriend and my first true love, ”said Paul, now 84, in an interview with CNN.

Fred returned to Wandsworth a year later to find Florence but learned that she and her family had also moved to another city.

Time passed and eventually, both of them married other people and formed their respective families.

In 2017, Harvey became widowed after 57 years of marriage to a man named Len, who died of cancer and with whom she had 5 children. Two years later, Paul’s wife of nearly 60 years, Helen, also died. They had two children together.

After this and thanks to family and friends, both managed to contact each other by phone. “I never thought it would happen that. But we went from talking once a week, to 2, to 3, to every day for hours. We had really reconnected, even though we hadn’t seen each other in all those years. I knew this was it, ”said Harvey, 81.

Months after said “telephone reunion”, Florence surprised Freud last July when he traveled to Toronto to celebrate his birthday.

“When I found out he was in town and he was coming to see me, it was 10:30 at night. I ran out of bed, got dressed and wrote ‘Welcome Florence’ in chalk on the driveway and when she arrived I walked to the car, gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek, and took her hand and knew immediately that she had taken my heart “, asserted Paul.

It took only 3 days for both of them to decide to get married, Despite what their families thought at first, they were sure they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. since Paul was a month away from starting treatment for stomach cancer, but Harvey was committed to being by his side, both through the good and the bad, no matter what that meant.

On August 8, Paul and Harvey exchanged vows in front of family and close friends at Norval United Church in Georgetown, Ontario. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, they kept the guest list small.

“You were the first young man to walk me home in my teens,” Harvey told Paul during the ceremony. “I guess you’ll be the last man to walk me home,” he added.

The pastor who carried out the ceremony assured that he had never been in such an emotional wedding.



School helps spread COVID-19 in Montreal, new study finds

Professor Simona Bignami will not send her child to school after she has just co-signed a new study that points to the school community as a vector of transmission of COVID-19 in Montreal.

• Read also: COVID-19: an increase in cases to be expected with the return to class

• Read also: No need to invest in mechanical ventilation, argues an expert

A professor in the demography department of the University of Montreal and a researcher at CIRANO, Ms. Bignami was interviewed by QUB radio on Monday morning, when it is the first day of school in Quebec for elementary school students.

The CIRANO report, which will be published on Tuesday, shows, among other things, that the increase in cases for the 10-19 age group preceded the increase in cases among adults aged 30-49, i.e. parents, on the island of Montreal.

According to the study, this would therefore mean that transmission among young people is not the “consequence, but rather an important determinant, of the general level of infection in neighboring communities”.

“I think that the reopening of schools today, for sure that will imply an increase in new cases which will reduce the effectiveness of the other measures that the government has put in place,” Ms. Bignami told Caroline Saint-Hilaire to QUB radio. While she recognizes the benefits of attending face-to-face classes for children, the researcher argues that it must be done safely.

“At the moment […] it’s not safe for them, it willn’t allow us to flatten the curve, ”she adds.

  • LISTEN to Simona Bignami’s full interview on QUB radio:

The Journal is looking for testimonials from people who have unknowingly been carriers of COVID-19 and who have seen those around them fall ill when they themselves had no symptoms. Since the start of the pandemic, many asymptomatic people have infected those around them without knowing it. This has happened in particular in CHSLDs and sports circles. We would love to hear from you if you have experienced such a situation.

You can write to our journalist Simon Baillargeon ([email protected])


School support: community organizations demand access to premises

While community organizations will no longer be authorized to offer tutoring from Monday, the Regroupement des organizations communautaire québécois de Lutte au déshochout (ROCLD) called on Saturday morning for access to the premises to be maintained.

• Read also: COVID-19: year-end ministerial exams canceled

• Read also: COVID-19: No to air purifiers in schools

• Read also: Prolonged school closures: the first report card postponed for a second time

“We ask Minister Roberge to recognize the important role of the community sector in education. We are here to contribute too. Please do not close the doors of schools to us when students need our support the most, “Melanie Marsolais, Director General of ROCLD, said in a statement.

In parallel with this decision, the Minister of Education also launched on Friday an appeal to the population to recruit volunteer tutors, who will come in to replace these organizations.

“We would like to work with the Minister of Education to ensure the success of his plan to set up a tutoring network that is accessible to all young people who need it,” added Marsolais.

About sixty Quebec community organizations are recognized as competent resources for their role in the fight against dropping out of school.

Birmingham Headlines UK Liverpool

Pupils are forced to perform their OWN Covid tests at school as nurse watches on

School pupils are carrying out Covid tests on themselves, despite fears over their effectiveness when self-administered.

Students at Oasis Academy in Coulsdon, Surrey, were sent the kits on Monday ahead of the regime starting.

Following the latest national lockdown being announced only vulnerable children or those whose parents are key workers have been allowed to attend lessons in person.

They were given instructions by nurses on how to carry out the tests themselves and supervised by them, similar to how some walk-in testing centres are run.

The idea is that fewer medical experts will be needed to test a larger number of people.

But it comes amid fears self-administered tests could miss cases, due to the force and depth needed to collect a sample.

Experts recommend a trained nurse or professional carries out the insertion of the swab to get to the necessary spot, which can be extremely uncomfortable.

Student Molly Tinker takes a COVID-19 test at Oasis Academy in Coulsdon, Surrey, today

Student Ruby Soden receives instructions on how to self-administer her coronavirus test

Student Ruby Soden receives instructions on how to self-administer her coronavirus test

Student Henry Parker receives instructions and equipment on how to take his virus test

Student Henry Parker receives instructions and equipment on how to take his virus test

John Murphy, CEO of Oasis Trust, said on Monday before the lockdown and general school closures: ‘What we know for sure is that our young people make the best progress with quality first teaching, with their teachers, in the classroom with their friends.

‘Therefore, once effectively delivered, we are assured that mass testing in schools will provide additional confidence to our children, parents, teachers and staff, and has the potential to greatly reduce disruption to learning, alongside our existing Covid controls.

‘In January we will be piloting the testing in a number of our schools before implementing this to all our secondary academies across the country.’

Schools were given comprehensive online training modules with 1,500 military personnel on hand to provide advice and guidance on establishing the process. 

Student Lily Mae Milliman takes her COVID-19 test using a mirror to assist in using the swab

Student Lily Mae Milliman takes her COVID-19 test using a mirror to assist in using the swab

After use the swab is placed into a reacting agent which shows whether the user has Covid

After use the swab is placed into a reacting agent which shows whether the user has Covid

The tests were sent out to schools before they were shut down under the UK's new lockdown

The tests were sent out to schools before they were shut down under the UK’s new lockdown

There fears self-administered tests could miss cases, due to the depth needed to take swab

There fears self-administered tests could miss cases, due to the depth needed to take swab

Professional use swabs are longer and when administered by a nurse can be painful

Professional use swabs are longer and when administered by a nurse can be painful

Infectious disease specialists say letting people do swabs makes false negatives more likely

Infectious disease specialists say letting people do swabs makes false negatives more likely

Schools could still spread coronavirus 

Covid-19 infections will continue to spread through classrooms where high numbers of children are attending schools in the lockdown, experts have warned.

Scientific advice group Independent Sage is calling for the definition of key workers to be narrowed and for increased financial support or furlough to be given to those who cannot work amid a large demand for school places.

The group of scientists, chaired by former chief scientific adviser Sir David King, warns that underprivileged children are being exposed to a “greater risk of infection” due to the high number of pupils who are eligible to attend class.

The warning came after the Government told schools not to limit the number of children of key workers onsite during the national lockdown in England – and it said vulnerable children should be strongly encouraged to attend.

Headteachers have been reporting a high demand for places after students in schools and colleges – except children of key workers and vulnerable pupils – were told to learn remotely until mid-February.

Vulnerable children can include “pupils who may have difficulty engaging with remote education at home” due to a lack of devices or a quiet space to study.

The report from Independent Sage says: “First … this undermines the whole point of school closures making the policy less effective and therefore extending the period of closure.

“Second, it exposes underprivileged children to still greater risk of infection.”

Addressing high demand from key worker parents, it adds: “This is in danger of increasing the number in school to a point where the policy becomes less effective and the ability of teachers to deliver remote learning is undermined.”

Independent Sage is calling for the creation of a national education task force involving Government, councils, teachers, parents and students to “create a more Covid-secure environment in schools”.

Experts warned last year some self-tests are less accurate because they use shorter swabs and do not need to be inserted as deeply into the nose.

Instructions for some say: ‘No force is needed and you do not have to push far into your nostril.’

However, professional-use swabs – which are much longer and are designed to take samples from the ‘floor’ of the nose – can make people gag, their eyes water or even trigger nosebleeds when carried out properly.

Infectious disease specialists say letting people do swabs themselves – notoriously difficult even for trained medics – makes false negatives more likely. False negatives mean people who are infected with the virus are wrongly told they’re in good health. 

Britain’s current guidelines mean there is no rule to tell them to stay at home after a negative test, even if they have symptoms. Medics say Britain is out of step with other countries such as New Zealand – which contained its Covid-19 outbreak quickly, which place less importance on tests and do them multiple times.

Norwich-based researcher Dr Katherine Deane, branch equalities officer for the University and College Union, is worried about how effective infection control will be.

She told the Eastern Daily Press: ‘Schools don’t have experts in infection control, so the level of precision there will be on the set up, the cleaning of the area, the wearing of personal protective equipment and the ventilation is all worrying.

‘When you have a swab test, that tends to produce a cough – a gag reflex and the droplets go into the air.

‘The big ones will fall quickly, but the fine ones can stay in the air for up to an hour.

‘And yet, the idea of the testing is that you get a student swabbed, you clean up and five minutes later the next student is tested.

‘It means the volunteers supervising can be at higher risk of infection and, unless the infection control is meticulous, the venues run the risk of being the site of super-spreader events.’

Professor Jon Deeks, a biostatistics expert at the University of Birmingham, said: ‘A single negative test result doesn’t exclude the disease. You can so easily miss the virus – they give a lot of false negatives.’

Research suggests up to 30 per cent of professional swab tests return false negatives, meaning the number of positive cases may be underestimated by thousands.

It is not clear how inaccurate self-swabs are, even though they are being carried out more than 60,000 times a day in the UK. The Department of Health will not release data about the false negative rates of its tests.

PCR vs lateral flow Covid tests


A PCR test can cost upwards of £180 per person, with the swab needing to be processed in a lab. 

The UK, on the other hand, favours faster tests which are not lab based and give a result within 15 minutes.

These rapid coronavirus tests, known as lateral flow tests, are ones that can be done on the spot using portable equipment.

They are faster and cheaper than lab-based PCR tests, which the government uses to diagnose people, but are less accurate. 


In a lateral flow test a swab is used to get a sample from the person’s nose or throat and it is then processed in a small machine that tries to detect the coronavirus by mixing the sample with something the virus would react with.

If there is a reaction in the mixture it suggests that the person is carrying coronavirus. If not, they get a negative result. This process can be completed in as little as 15 minutes.

You take your own swab though a professional on site processes it through the machine. 

Lateral flow miss up to half of cases, by the Department of Health’s own admission. 

But damning evidence shows they may be effectively useless when self-administered, despite Downing Street’s current testing scheme relying on people taking their own swabs. 

The tests are more accurate when swabs are carried out by trained professionals because they have to be pushed deep inside the nose. 

But scientists fear Britain simply doesn’t have the money or enough spare medics to do this nationwide every day, with health chiefs instead accepting DIY swabs to save time. 


These lateral flow tests differ from the gold standard PCR test – known scientifically as polymerase chain reaction testing. 

PCR tests also use a swab but this is then processed using high-tech laboratory equipment to analyse the genetic sequence of the sample to see if any of it matches the genes of coronavirus.

This is a much more long-winded and expensive process, involving multiple types of trained staff, and the analysis process can take hours, with the whole process from swab to someone receiving their result taking days.

It is significantly more accurate, however. In ideal conditions the tests are almost 100 per cent accurate at spotting the virus, although this may be more like 70 per cent in the real world.

This compares to a much lower sensitivity in lateral flow tests, with a trial of one type used in Liverpool suggesting they miss around 50 per cent of the people who would test positive with PCR.


Extreme accuracy may be a drawback for PCR now that so many people have been infected, however, with the tests able to detect shreds of the virus in people who recovered weeks ago and are no longer infectious, which may lead them to have to self-isolate unnecessarily.

Lateral flow tests are more likely to miss people who are carrying the virus but, experts say, do have value as a way of weeding out people carrying large amounts of the virus and therefore most likely to be spreading the disease.


Back to school: only positive, according to a psychologist

Returning to class on Monday is certainly a good thing for elementary school students.

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• Read also: COVID-19: Ministerial end-of-year exams canceled

Those in secondary school will return to their class in 10 days.

At the primary level, health instructions will be reinforced, among other things with the wearing of masks for pupils from the first to the sixth year. Anyway, this return to a semblance of normal life which can only be beneficial for the students, according to a psychologist.

“At the primary level, the link with the teacher is essential for the pupils”, said the Familio clinical director, Hugo Lambert, in an interview with TVA Nouvelles on Friday.

“Children need this leading figure ahead of them. It’s a connection that is much more difficult to establish during online courses. ”

At the secondary level, virtual classes begin next week, before returning to class on Monday, January 18.

The first confinement had been lived harder for the students of the secondary level.

The Familio clinic says it has observed an increase in cases of anxiety in adolescents.

“Breaking up a routine, having to start a new one at home with parents, can lead to anxiety.”

Online courses and the constraints linked to the practice of sport have deprived the most vulnerable of their usual benchmarks, at a crucial stage in their development.

“The characteristic of a teenager is to discover relationships with others, friendships and romantic relationships,” said Mr. Lambert. “This is also the age when we start to want to emancipate ourselves from these parents.”

According to the psychologist, the evaluation criteria must take into account the context of the pandemic.

“It’s not just putting a number on school results,” said Hugo Lambert. “You have to evaluate the student’s efforts. We have to adapt. ”

Teachers must finalize the report card for the first half of the school year at the beginning of next February.