For almost two years we have been working under the umbrella of COVID-19 to keep our students focus on their academic journey. When we look back, forensically, at the way we interacted with one another, our preferred communications tools, and the way we socialized, things have changed considerable in less than two (2) years. Our Madar family has not been immune to the impact from the pandemic. Nevertheless, our mission remains steadfast as we prepare the future leaders of the United Arab Emirates. Our students, parents, and teachers have had to adjust to the challenges posed by the pandemic. Distance learning, limited classroom capacity, and mitigation measures have been a life altering process in our daily operation of the school.
Covid-19’s impact on how our children learn has been staggering. According to the World Economic Forum The pandemic has “changed education forever.” UNESCO published data showing that 1.38 billion students were faced, at one point or another, with school closures all around the world. MADAR International Students were briefly impacted as the school retooled into a distance learning format in less than three weeks through our teamwork. The IT team together with supervisors, registrars, teachers and HODs and Admin team, worked together to ensure we were able to complete the academic year.
After preparing the school grounds to comply with governmental safety guidelines, some parents put their trust on their Madar faculty and staff members and send their student back to school during some of the most challenging days of the pandemic. Face-to-Face instructions began while teachers were still improving their eLearning platforms during the 2020-2021 academic year. Madar, as well as many other schools, implemented a blended format in which teachers worked in a dual platform of FTF and DL. Teacher’s creativity came to play a big role as they needed to balance the limitations of activities in the classroom with the endless option of activities in the DL environment.
The daily operations of running a school changed significantly when COVID 19 mitigation measures were introduced on campus. Face recognition cameras, fogging machines, hands free thermometers that measure body temperature, digital boards, online collaboration applications, to name a few. Additionally, government agencies required daily compliance checklists, and periodic inspections to monitor the potential safety hazards schools could face as the corona virus was not yet fully understood.
Although we are still leaving below the shadows of the COVID 19 pandemic, today we understand more how to protect ourselves from the virus. Numerous medical breakthroughs, including the vaccines, are available to ordinary people as we continue to strive towards life back to normal. Thanks to the medical breakthroughs, PCR testing, and stringent mitigation guidelines about 85% of MADAR International students are back to school, with a few still using DL due to special circumstances. You may say that COVID_19 has changed MADAR; however, and more importantly, COVID 19 has revealed the resilience of our community. Out students, parents, teacher, and staff has shown what it means to be MADAR strong.
Dr. Denis M. Peters