Several parents are undecided on whether or not they can allow their children to return to school if the government decides to reopen them given a surge in Covid19 infections in the country.
The government cut the academic year prematurely on March 18, 2020, to forestall the spread of Covid19.
President Yoweri Museveni observed that it was paramount to protect the more than 15 million learners at various educational institutions nationwide from the novel coronavirus.
Ever since the government started easing the lockdown with the partial reopening of various sectors, several people have been agitating for a phased reopening of educational institutions to allow learners to resume their studies.
Our reporter spoke to several parents about the proposal to reopen schools.
Rachael Nabweteme, a resident of Ntinda says with their children stuck at home for over six months, they thought the government would reopen schools to prevent the long-term impact of the shutdown.
She is however concerned about the increasing infections around the country and Kampala in particular, saying it is better the schools remain closed for now.
Harriet Musoke, a shop attendant in Kamwokya, says children are safer at home compared to school. She says that even the proposed Standard Operating procedures for schools are idealistic and may not be enforced.
Isaac Kasozi, a parent of three shares similar sentiments, saying he feels secure if his children are under his watch where they meet a few people in the neighborhood compared to school, which brings children from different areas of the country.
Kasozi says there is no urgency for reopening schools, saying there are many things that need to be addressed. He says the government can use the remaining three months to prepare for a single but orderly reopening next year.
Peter Musinguzi, a resident of Nansana municipality notes reopening schools wouldn’t be bad but he might not be able to pay school fees given the effects of the lockdown.
Ministry of Education has already developed strategies to ensure effective implementation of Standard Operating Procedures-SOPs for the phased reopening of the educational institutions. The reopening mainly focuses on finalists and candidate classes.
According to the SOPs, each school will be required to form a Covid19 taskforce, conduct daily and timely screening of temperatures of learners, enforce the compulsory wearing of face masks by both learners and teachers, create isolation rooms, provide access to water by learners every time and disinfect classroom floors, walls, furniture, toilets using soap and water each day.
The schools are also expected to restrict access to their premises, screen all visitors, create adequate spaces to allow for the recommended physical distance, maintain 2 meters between beds, and include Covid19 messages in lesson plans among others.