A number of candidates and finalists have reported back to schools following the President’s directive to reopen schools on 15th October, 2020. In his address on the 20th September, President Yoweri announced that only candidates and finalists at all levels are to resume their studies since they have a smaller number compared to the total involvement in each school.
All students have been home since 20th March when the President closed all learning institutions as a preventive measure against covid19 that had broken out worldwide. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has directed all schools to follow Covid19 SOPs and to first be inspected by the Ministry of Health, if they are to open to ensure student’s safety against the virus.
As students are reporting, several measures and interventions are being implemented in different schools at the entrance for example, at Entebbe Senior Secondary School, temperature checking, social distancing registration and more.
One of the administrators at this school says they have put hand washing points in every class and posters of Covid19 around the compound to notify students about the virus.
“We have social distanced each student at least 2 meters away from the other and also we have put in place the school staff covid19 committee team to sensitize students from class to class on a daily basis about covid19”. Administrator says.
As schools reopen, the government through the Ministry of Health has procured masks for all the final year students in every school around the country.
Emmanuel Ainebyoona, the Ministry of Health Spokesperson said that masks are ready and will be distributed to students both in private and public schools.
“Masks for P7, S4, and S6 candidates are being picked from the Ministry of Health and distributed to the respective schools by the District Education Officers (DEOs)” Ainebyoona said.
However, some schools have not opened up and some shut down for failure to adhere to the SOPs especially private schools. An example is in Budaka district where at least 7 schools were directed to remain closed after failing to stick to the Covid19 Standard Operating procedures given by government.
“We have given the affected schools one week grace period to put in place what’s required or else parents will be advised to relocate their children to schools that meet the standard”. He said.
Other challenges expected to be met during this activity include students failing to keep a social distance from one another, putting on their masks daily and sanitizing regularly. Some students have also not been able to report back to school due to parent’s failure to raise school fees/ tuition and school requirements since some lost their jobs because of Covid19.
The ministry of education and sports last month released a calendar showing that Term 2 for candidates will start on October 15 and end on December 18, while Term III will start on Jan. 11, 2021, and end on April 30, 2021.
Meanwhile, student leaders from different public universities like Makerere University, Kyambogo University and Uganda Christian University yesterday visited Parliament to ask government to also consider reopening of schools for continuing students.
They explained to the speaker of Parliament Rabecca Kadaga that government’s proposal to make it compulsory for continuing students to adapt to online learning is not feasible since internet penetration is still very low, discriminatory and inefficient .
Continuing students are supposed to resume their studies next year 2021 according to the President.