Schools and universities across the country will close for a month from Sunday as part of efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus, the Ministry of Education said on Tuesday night.
Spring break, which was due to begin on March 29, will instead begin on March 8 and last two weeks. Distance learning will be introduced during the remaining two weeks, with pupils learning from home.
Government schools will run a home-teaching programme called Learn from Afar from March 22 to April 5. It was due to be tested on Wednesday and Thursday.
Private schools were urged to set up their own distance-learning programmes or expand existing e-learning tools such as Google Classroom, ClassDojo and Seesaw, to cover the school day.
A "sterilisation programme" for all educational facilities will be carried out in all schools, buses and universities, the ministry said.
In other developments:
- Mosques and Quran centres will be sterilised as part of efforts to safeguard public health, the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (Awqaf) said on Wednesday.
- Six new cases of coronavirus were confirmed on Tuesday, bringing the country's total to 27. The patients were two Russians, two Italians, one German and one Colombian connected to the two Italian cycling team members on the UAE Tour who tested positive. Hundreds of cyclists, support team staff and journalists quarantined in two hotels on Yas Island were cleared and returned home.
- The Department of Health Abu Dhabi cancelled its international treatment programme that sends Emiratis with complex medical issues abroad for treatment to "limit the risk of contagion".
- Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, spoke with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in a phone call and expressed "solidarity with Italy in countering the spread of coronavirus", state news agency Wam said. He was briefed by Mr Conte about the efforts there to contain and control the virus.