Uganda schools reopen after 2-year closure to curb Covid-19 spread

Schools in Uganda are resuming learning after close to two years of closure to curb the spread of Covid-19. [Godfrey Badebye, Standard]

Schools in Uganda are resuming learning after close to two years of closure to curb the spread of Covid-19. 

The government has since trained teachers and headteachers on school-based surveillance and care of Covid-19 to help in early detection and avoid cases in learning institutions.

But teachers add that there is a need to mentally support teachers and learners mentally and psychologically.

In Uganda, the education sector has been greatly affected by the pandemic following prolonged school closure.

Teacher John Opit said, “Even the children have felt the impact and have been eager to come back. I believe each student will at least be strict in observing the protocols.”

The government's decision to reopen the schools has been guided by a risk-based approach to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Primary Education minister Dr. Joyce Moriku said the system is within the Health department, where a biostatistician will enter the data collected daily on children's health.

Children are vulnerable and at most times require special attention such as quick testing, pick up and drop off, which should come with a quick medical response.

Moriku said the schools need to enforce and put this policy into consideration.

She went on: “They have the tools to report these symptoms as and when they detect them."

Moriku said schools will be guided on having a separate isolation room where they will ask students and staff showing symptoms to stay until health professionals take the necessary measures, including PCR testing.

Evidence suggests that the risk of severe disease for children is lower overall than for adults.

Unicef representative in Uganda Dr Munir Safieldin said, “We want to identify early and refer [them] to health facilities. We are trying to link schools to the nearest health centres because primary schools are in parishes. We will send them to where their testing kits are.”

According to Unicef, the closure of schools disrupted the education of 15 million children.

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