Schools Should Not Be Reopened. Vaccinate Teachers and Students – Specialists Warn

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The countdown is on to the end of the 42-day lockdown and many are expectant on the pronouncement on the date on which schools will be re-opened following over a month of closure due to the Coronavirus resurgence in the country.

A section of specialists in the education sector have advised government to abstain from rushing into re-opening schools until there is an assurance of the containment of Coronavirus.

Speaking to NTV, Prof Anthony Mugagga – A Specialist in Education, Foundation and Development at Makerere University warned government against making the same actions that saw students and teachers return to class uncertain of their COVID-19 statuses.

“The post previous lockdown, both parents and schools made some salient mistakes for example returning some students to school who were probably sick and the parents could not reveal that the students were sick. But at the same time, some schools accepted back students without testing them for COVID-19” Prof Mugagga said.

Another expert in the education sector, Dr. Tonny Lusambu who is a Technical Advisor at UWEZO cited how difficult it is to manage institutions of learning to prevent spread of Coronavirus

“Some sectors may be able to open, but schools will very difficult to open after the 42 days because they are very complex institutions where it is very difficult to block and say only students should enter school and not just anyone else – Dr Lusambu said.

“The advice I would give to the learners is that learning process continues through different approaches, and also when the time is right, schools shall re-open and the usual mode of studying continues” Dr Lusambu added.

Dr Lusambu suggested vaccination as the only way to ensure that learners and teachers can safely return back to school and proceed with the academic year physically.

“The ideal procedure I would advise for re-opening is ensuring teachers, parents and students are well vaccinated” he said. He further called upon government to consider a way of reducing prices of data bundles to enable continuity of learning during this time before schools are re-opened.

It should be recalled that last week during the release of the Primary Leaving Examinations, Minister of Education – Hon Janet Museveni said that the reopening of schools was still hanging in balance as the decision was still awaiting Cabinet’s approval.

“I do not want to talk about something we are not confident about. The decision of closing or reopening schools is not made by my ministry alone. The decisions can only be made by the government after they have been discussed by Cabinet,” Mrs. Museveni said.

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