Returning to School

Returning to School

Fortes Education Schools are reopening full time in August and look forward to welcoming all our students, every day, all day. The health and safety of our students, staff and parents is our top priority. We have been working closely with our approved cleaning partners and have implemented strict protocols adhering to the UAE authorities’ guidelines and recommendations to ensure that the school environment will be safe and secure for your child.

Please view our comprehensive COVID-19 health & safety policy and procedures below for a breakdown of the important steps we are taking to support the safe return of our students to campus.



School operations are supported by strong leadership teams who oversee the smooth re-opening of the buildings. A Crisis Management Committee (CMC) has been set up to provide support and guidance during times when the school faces further unexpected and unprecedented challenges.

The Academic and Operations Teams at Fortes have considered various models for teaching and learning supported by research, which enable a safe learning environment and minimise the risk of infection transmission.

We are prepared and ready to open a physical school fully operational, however, we should not discount the possibility of continuing with our online distance learning as a result of spikes in infections or provide for a blended model to support social distancing and at the same time keep Fortes Community Safe.


A physical school that is fully functional focusing on reopening school buildings and resuming operations largely in line with our pre-COVID-19 model. Stringent protocols and enhanced hygiene practices would be implemented to minimise the risk of infection transmission. Pupils would have their temperatures checked on entry to school and ensure frequent handwashing and maintain physical distancing as mandated by the authorities. Distance learning will continue for students and staff who are required to be home.

The fully open school would continue to:

  • offer a broad and balanced curriculum
  • provide outstanding teaching
  • maximise and maintain its numbers on roll


Please see the below diagram.



At Fortes Schools, we deliver teaching and learning using our unique pedagogy which is underpinned by effective methodologies focused on the social, emotional, and cognitive development of young learners. We teach with a focus on learning skills rather than a content-driven curriculum.

With the necessary precautions of health and safety and the implementation of various protocols, we have carried out an in-depth analysis of how our approaches may change when we have students and staff attend the Physical School with learning on campus.

We feel that it is important to be realistic about the aspects of pedagogy that can remain unchanged, those that may need some amendments and even those that may need to disappear till we have to social distancing directives, in place in and around our classrooms and schools.


The model allows the full curriculum content to be delivered with all the necessary directives in place to ensure the safety and security of all those attending. The sessions in the timetable will ensure that it meets the time allocation requirements for the subjects of Islamic Education, Arabic, UAE Social Studies, and UAE Moral Education in line with Article 18 (2017) of the MOE By-Laws. With all the necessary health and safety measure in place our approach to learning at each phase will continue to follow our philosophy of learning as outline below:

EYFS: We will continue to blend a range of outstanding Early Years practices to support our highly committed child-initiated learning and provide a sophisticated play-based curriculum with new social distancing norms in place, such that the class is split into two adjacent rooms.

Primary: We will continue to focus on the whole child, where students will continue to be immersed in a thematic journey that encompasses real-life experiences and purposeful, memorable challenges that deepen understanding and develop independence.

Secondary: We will continue in our approach to encourage students to build the skills and learning habits to become independent thinkers. Our priority remains to be on the whole child, creating a warm, enthusiastic, inspirational and exciting environment in which young people can think, learn, create and innovate to succeed.

Sixth Form: We will continue to offer the right balance of support, inspiration, and challenge for all our students in A-Level, BTEC, International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, or International Baccalaureate Career-Related Programme.


Students will be allocated and restricted to their home-base class to limit mixing. The students in each year group who use the school transport facility, will be allocated to one home base class so that all students who ride the school bus would only interact with their class and bus groups. Arrangements will be discussed for Students of Determination with parents and clear communication on student home base provided.


The Distance Learning through Rahhal programme will continue to be provided to cater for the students who cannot physically be present on campus.

Rahhal provides a creative and innovative alternative to mainstream education – an alternative that brings out the best from within the community and recognises learning wherever it occurs. It is a platform that helps to integrate learning with life, and life with learning. Rahhal programme will continue to enhance learning opportunities for all members of the Fortes community by providing a supportive regulatory environment. Fortes schools will be offering the following Rahhal programmes for students FS1 to Year 8 (RIS) and FS1 to Year 13 (SMS):

General – For students/families shielding from COVID19 due to health concerns or need to attend school from home.
Gifted and Talented – for students who cannot attend physical school due to training schedules, programmes or related travel.
Inclusion – For students with Special educational needs where the physical school setting is not appropriate.

The following Online Platforms will continue to support both Online Learning and faculty/student/family collaboration to ensure a quality student learning experience when planning and delivering remotely:

  • Fortes VLE for parents and students.
  • EYFS: SeeSaw
  • Primary: SeeSaw (Years 1 and 2), Teams and One Note (Years 2 to 6)
  • Secondary: Teams and One Note


See the diagram below:


See the diagram below:


Any member of the school community feeling unwell and/or exhibiting any COVID-19 associated symptoms will be screened as per the Triple S protocol (Screening, Social Distancing and Sanitisation) of Safe Operations and will be asked to stay home. They will not be permitted to enter the school’s premises or will be isolated if their illness should be evident during the day. Medical clearance will be required to return to school premises following a period of physical absence.


Large assemblies will not be permitted, and Fortes Schools shall continue to perform the UAE National Anthem in classrooms.


Across Fortes Schools, we will continue to provide students with the opportunity to develop their interest in various activities and channel their energy into developing new skills. These activities will take place in the physical school. They will continue to be cost-free to parents and delivered by our team of highly qualified teachers. Options will be provided for ECA to be taken up online especially Year 1 and 2.

Electives Key Stage 1 will be as follows: 

Whilst, practicing social distancing during the Physical School, Fully Open Campus the guidelines for Electives that will be offered to KS1.

  • A wide range of Electives will be offered based on childrens’ interests
  • The Electives will continue to be timetable in the regular day of the class
  • Each Elective session will last 40 to 50 minutes
  • The children will stay in their classes and teachers offering the electives will visit the class Two 
  • Electives will be offered per week per child

Extra-Curricular Activities for KS2 to KS5

Whilst, practicing social distancing during the Physical School, Fully Open Campus the extra-curricular offerings at KS2 to KS5 will be designed to meet the needs of our students whilst remaining mindful of our ways of working to ensure the safety of all. The ECA offerings for students will follow the Zone/ Bubble Model to ensure students are only in contact with those they are also with during the school day. Activities will be restricted to those that are suitable for non-contact and with no shared equipment.

All Activities will meet the Dubai Municipality current COVID guidelines. No changing facilities will be available. Competitive fixture will resume only under the guidance of KHDA/ Dubai Sports Council.



Positive Education (PosEd) brings together the science of Positive Psychology with best teaching practices to enable individuals, schools, and communities to flourish. PosEd drives a person to learn more effectively, and be more resilient, creative, productive, successful, and healthy. Multiple studies on the effects of PosEd testify that improved levels of a child’s wellbeing are associated with higher levels of academic engagement, stronger social skills, higher levels of optimism, improved behaviour, and fewer mental health-related issues.

Fortes’ Positive Education ethos and philosophy, which is embedded into the fabric of our schools, ensure that our pupils are taught how to deal with the diverse emotions that we encounter through life, which is crucial at this time.


Our pupils will continue to benefit from the team of Counsellors at Fortes Schools. The school counsellors are at hand to not only promote and encourage wellbeing, but provide personalised support to pupils through programmes or drop-ins. As schools which recognise the importance of wellbeing, we appreciate that events in recent months may have had a profound impact on the social and emotional wellbeing of many of our students.

Supporting our pupils’ wellbeing at this time will remain a priority to provide a smooth transition from Distance Learning to Physical School Fully Open Campus.

Director of Positive Education and Wellbeing
Katrina Mankani: k.mankani@forteseducation.com

School Counsellors
Ms. Fatima Abdullah (Primary): f.abdullah@forteseducation.com
Mr. Alistair Dale (Secondary): a.dale@forteseducation.com


Our specialist Inclusion team will continue to work in partnership with the class teacher, parents, and external specialists, to develop Individual Achievement Plans for students with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities.

Targeted intervention, both within and outside of the classroom, will be provided by our experienced team of Individual Support Teachers (ISTs), Individual Needs Support
Assistants (INSAs), and/or the School Counsellor, as needed. Additionally, some students may benefit from a modified route to education, which may include an adjusted timetable, specific subject
exemptions, and/or alternative-augmentative curriculum option. The schools are accredited centres for the delivery of the ASDAN programme of study.

We will continue to provide support for pupils who are English Language Learners (ELL) or have English as an additional language (EAL) through specialist classes taught by a TEFL-qualified practitioner. There will be the continued development of the Fortes Intensive English Language Learning Programme and the continuing evolution of our Sports Heroes Academy, a voluntary peer-coaching programme working with Children of Determination.


See diagram below.


Guidance for parents of students exempted from returning to school

Fortes Schools shall maintain regular contact with parents of exempted students to ensure they feel supported in managing their child(ren)’s continued distance learning, till the time they allowed to return to a physical school day.

Virtual open houses will be conducted at regular intervals to allow exempted students to virtually visit their school grounds.

Guidance for parents in students’ remote learning and mental wellbeing

With distance learning may continue at least over the next term for children and staff exempted due to various authorised reasons, we will actively involve parents in the distance learning process to ensure that students are engaged in the tailor-made learning programmes.


Fortes Schools shall maintain regular contact with parents of exempted students to ensure they feel supported in managing their child(ren)’s continued distance learning, till the time they allowed to return to a physical school day.

Virtual open houses will be conducted at regular intervals to allow exempted students to virtually visit their school grounds.

With distance learning may continue at least over the next term for children and staff exempted due to various authorised reasons, we will actively involve parents in the distance learning
process to ensure that students are engaged in the tailor-made learning programmes.

We will continue to work closely with our external After-School Activity and Peripatetic providers to ensure our schools’ offering is compliant with federal mandates of health and safety. Should we be authorised to offer such activities, Fortes Schools will as per the directives take all the necessary measures and provide the service to the Fortes community. The details of which will be provided at a later date.

ASA Manager:
Mrs. Elaine Baillie: e.baillie@forteseducation.com


The following Fortes Guidelines are to be followed by all our ASA and ECA providers:

Coaches and Trainers

  • Follow the prescribed guidelines from Dubai Municipality Health and Safety (DMHS) for screening the coaches and trainer who visit the premises, as well as, adhere to the protocol set by Fortes school for screening the visitors entering the premises. (Mandatory temperature checks and completion of the declaration form for all onsite staff, trainers and participators).
  • If temperature exceeds 37.5 Celsius trainers/coaches and trainees/students will be prohibited to enter the facility.
  • It will be compulsory to a wear face masks while entering the Fortes School. Coaches and Trainers will also be required to wear a face visor when dealing with students and parents where 2 m distance is not maintained.
  • All staff and trainers to practice social distancing of 2m as per the guidelines approved by DMHS.
    Social gatherings among trainers and staff will not be allowed.
  • The provider needs to have a dedicated Hygiene Champion assigned to ensure compliance to
    all DMHS guidelines and SOPs.
  • For contact tracing adequate records of its members’ coaches/trainers and students/participants
    including names, telephone numbers, visit dates, and duration of times, recorded temperature
    on entry and exit needs to be maintained to assist if contact tracing becomes necessary.
  • If anyone of the staff/coach/ trainer was confirmed positive according to a COVID-19 PCR test by an accredited facility, they are not to return unless they are granted a medical certificate
    (clearance certificate) endorsed by DHA stating that they are discharged from isolation.
  • Staff will be discouraged from exiting the camp during the day, but if they do for emergency
    purposes, they will need to sanitise and change gloves and masks upon return.

Screening and Emergency plan

  • Mandatory contactless screening for staff, coaches, trainers, students, and visitors based on DMHS guidelines will need to be carried out for all entering the facility. If the temperature is ≥37.5 Celsius, entry to the facility will not be allowed.
  • If a case of illness is detected amongst student or staff presenting COVID- 19 symptoms such as fever (≥37.5 ̊C), cough, myalgia or fatigue, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, diarrhea and nausea, headache, or loss of sense of smell or taste, DHA hotline number 800342 should be contacted by the coaches, trainers and health and safety champion.
  • Fortes administration will dedicate an isolation room and the provider will have to set procedures to handle COVID-19 suspect/confirmed cases as well as the disinfection procedures as per DHA/DM guidelines.

Disinfection Regulations

  • All the common surfaces, and common areas of the facility need to be cleaned after every use (or minimum once every hour) such as toilets, escalators, elevators, rails, counters, countertop, harness, frequently touched items, reused cash consoles, gadgets etc.
  • A schedule from Fortes schools will allow for mid-and post-session cleaning periods, allowing a 10 – 15 minutes buffer between training sessions.
  • Mandatory provision of disinfectant i.e. wipes to clean the equipment especially if used by 2 or more people.
  • No sharing of equipment during the training without disinfection.
  • Frequent sanitisation of all equipment including racquets, target cones, balls, ball machines,
    shuttles, tables and heavy equipment part of the facility would need to be sanitised before & after every use (or Fortes will provide the disinfection facility at an additional cost).


(Disinfection of the areas at an additional cost can be provided by Fortes from a DM approved third party Vendor)

Social Distancing, Capacity and Facility Restrictions

  • No waiting area or reception areas will be allowed.
  • Physical barriers to create distancing or segregate exercise areas will need to be in place at entry and exit points.
  • Equipment to be placed at a minimum of 2m distance and any additional equipment that do not fit the social distancing requirements to be removed from the facility.
  • In case the equipment is difficult to move/remove/transfer to achieve the required distancing “not in use” sign on them to be displaced or turn them off.
  • Ratio to be maintained as per DMHS for all sports and sessions conducted at Fortes Premises.
  • No adults (Parents/ Nannies) other than the trainers and coaches and participants /trainees allowed to stay on the premises.
  • Use of showers or changing rooms not permitted.
  • Use of pools is not permitted.
  • Use of lockers is not permitted.
  • Specific Signages need to be provided for social distancing for caution/ capacity allowance and social distancing floor markers
  • An appropriate disinfection schedule should be shared and adopted by the provider to ensure constant sanitisation of the used area as per the Dubai Municipality guidelines
  • The procedure and workflow for disinfection of all equipment and the resources needs to be outlined and shared by the provider.
  • For each outdoor sport – a hygiene/sanitisation procedure for fields, pitches, tracks, courts etc. for pre-opening, post-game/training sessions need to be shared.
  • The provider should have coaches and trainers trained on the best practices based on DMHS Guidelines for application during operations requirements for health, safety and hygiene.
  • Mandatory provision of mobile hand sanitiser dispensers across the facility and common areas.
  • Visible markers on the floor to indicate appropriate spacing.
  • For enclosed soft play sections, external shoes are be forbidden, unless disposable shoes plastic cover are provided.
  • No party bookings, events or celebrations are allowed in the facility.
  • 2 meters social distancing measures will be displayed on all clearly visible areas within the facility.

Racket Sports includes (Tennis, Paddle Tennis, Badminton, Table Tennis)

  • Equipment should be touched only by the player/coach and should be cleaned frequently, including racquets, target cones, balls, ball machines, shuttles, tables, surrounding glass, etc.
  • Preferable to use a new set of balls after every reservation/training session.
  • While training players, each should have their marked hoppers and teaching charts to avoid sharing with other players.
  • Using a ball machine option for giving lessons, as it avoids having people touch the balls.
  • Using ball tubes and basket pickups to pick up loose balls after a ball machine rotation to limit contact. Ensure ball tubes and baskets are sanitised post-use.
  • Changing sides are after each set is not permitted.

Ball Sports includes (Basketball, Football, Handball, Volleyball)


  • Maximum of 20 players and 5 Coaches/Trainers to be distributed accordingly (TBC).
  • Full-sized football pitch to be split into 4 sections.
  • Use separation cones between the training sections.
  • Maximum 4 players with 1 Coach/Trainer per section.


  • Maximum of 6 players with 1 Coach/Trainer to be distributed accordingly.
  • Full-sized basketball court to be split into 2 sections.
  • Use separation cones between the training sections.
  • Maximum 3 players per section.


  • Maximum of 8 players with 2 Coaches/Trainers to be distributed accordingly.
  • Full-sized Volleyball court to be split into 2 sections.
  • Maximum 4 players with 1 Coach/Trainer per section.


  • Maximum of 6 players with 1 Coach/Trainer to be distributed accordingly.
  • Full-sized basketball court to be split into 2 sections.
  • Use separation cones between the training sections.
  • Maximum 3 players per section.

Contingency/emergency plan

  • Mandatory for the providers to prepare and share contingency and emergency operation and training plans in case of possible Covid19 positive staff /trainer and coaches.
  • Mandatory contactless screening for guests, visitors & contractors based on DMHS guidelines 28



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