OPINION: Why Schools should reopen amid COVID-19

The Coronavirus disease (C0vid-19) was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) earlier this year January following its outbreak in Wuhan, China, December 2019.

In a bid to mitigate its spread and a step-up to fighting this noble coronavirus disease, WHO issued guidelines which among others include social distancing (keeping a distance of at least two metres between any two persons), not touching one’s sensitive parts on the face—that is, mouth, eyes and nose unnecessarily, washing one’s hands regularly, wearing a mask to cover one’s mouth and nose, avoiding sneezing in the proximity of other people, and so on.

The Government of Uganda, on top of declaring a dusk-to-dawn curfew and a partial lockdown, immediately announced measures to curtail the spread of the disease in the country. These included, inter alia, closure of all mosques, churches, bars, arcades, open-air markets, and all academic institutions.

Herein I focus on the issue of reopening the country’s education institutions.

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The lockdown is currently being eased gradually. Nevertheless, the education institutions are still under lock. They were initially supposed to reopen on April 27, then reopening was postponed to June 4, thereafter, postponed for one month, and then indefinitely.

However, on June 9, the President informed the country that some parents were urging the government not to reopen the institutions until a vaccine or cure is discovered.

The President’s message was echoed by Mr John Chrysostom Muyingo, the State Minister for Higher Education:
“Although plans to reopen are underway … [some] parents … are against the move,” Mr Muyingo was quoted in the June 25 New Vision as saying.

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