Teachers at international schools in the United Arab Emirates are facing travel disruption following the closure of all schools in the region for a month to halt the spread of coronavirus.
Teachers planning to travel to see friends and family over the spring break, which was due to start on 29 March, are unlikely to do so now following the closure of all schools for four weeks by the Ministry of Education.
Coronavirus: How to keep teaching if schools are closed
Spring break will start early on Sunday 8 March and last for two weeks, followed by two weeks of online learning programmes while schools remain closed and follow a sanitisation programme.
Mike Lambert, principal of Dubai College, a private international school in the UAE, said all travel plans for teachers at his school had been "put on ice" because of the change in holiday dates.
"We’ve got staff who perhaps were looking forward to their spring break to return home to their friends and families in the UK, but all those travel plans have now been put on ice as we work out what’s going on," he said.
"And will they be able to leave the country? Because there’s a fear that if they leave, will they be able to get back, because there may be flight cancellations from whichever country it is that they go to."
He described the late-night announcement from the Ministry of Education as "management at midnight".
Mr Lambert said global pandemics could affect teachers at international schools and increase feelings of loneliness for staff.
"You can feel, at times, isolated and far from home, and that’s probably the biggest adaptation that people need to contend with," he said.