Gov’t weighs on re-closure of schools as COVID-19 cases soar among students

Gov’t weighs on re-closure of schools as COVID-19 cases soar among students

KAMPALA- The Minister for Primary Health Care in the Ministry of Health, Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu has announced that the government has no plans to close schools, even in the face of rising COVID-19 positive cases.

The Ministry of Health currently reports an average of 1,900 cases per week from over 127 districts and at least four different learning institutions have reported clusters of COVID-19 transmission since resumption of school for final year candidates last month.

Addressing the press on Tuesday at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala, Dr. Kaducu said that the health ministry does not recommend closure of learning institutions despite the COVID-19 situation in the country.

“The Ministry of Health does not recommend closure of schools as this will only heighten further community transmission and further create a disruption in the learners’ academic progression,” Dr. Kaducu said.

Dr. Kaducu said that the Ministry of Health has engaged the Ministry of Education on several fronts and came up with a number of recommendations that schools can undertake to keep the students safely in school.

This website has accessed some of the recommendations which included;

• Schools should not close despite confirmation of positive cases unless it is in consultation with the Director General of Ministry of Health.

• Schools should enforce “stay home” policy for learners and teachers that feel unwell, with quick linkage to health authorities.

• Strengthen surveillance in schools to identify cases early

• Engage with schools on health education risk perception and behaviour change to promote a preventive atmosphere in schools.

• Engage with private schools to improve surveillance and reporting of COVID in these communities.

According to Dr. Kaducu, learners in non-candidates’ classes will continue studying from home until the next assessment of the pandemic situation.

Dr. Kaducu however noted that rising cases are severely straining the health systems and urged the public to avoid unnecessary movements, gatherings and wear masks while in public to protect the vulnerable groups like the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.