As students trooped back to colleges and universities, the government announced the partial reopening of primary and secondary schools yesterday. Class Four, Class Eight and Form Four learners will return to school next Monday after six months of uncertainty.
That, obviously, is good news for many students who have grown weary of staying at home and are eager to return to school to continue with their education, and interact with their friends and teachers.
If things go well, candidates will now sit their examinations beginning March. But even as we celebrate the reopening of learning institutions, we cannot mask the fact that parents are anxious.
Although the government has done its best and even outlined measures that institutions should take to keep Covid-19 at bay, this is not enough to assuage them of their children’s safety.
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Which is understandable considering that the government has admitted that social distancing, which is critical in battling the pandemic, will be a tall order especially if all students are to return to school.
In addition, the government also confessed on Monday that it does not have the financial muscle to provide all learners with masks, another critical weapon in this war against an invisible enemy.
We are hoping that the government will be able to supply all schools that have no access to running water and soap with hand sanitisers before Monday.
But while we appreciate that the government is facing financial challenges, like the rest of us, we urge it to do everything to ensure that every school and student has the requisite deterrents for Covid-19.
Passing the burden of buying masks for students to parents, most who are struggling to put food on the table, is unacceptable.
As we have warned here before, we should be careful not to turn schools into new coronavirus hotspots.