Uganda: Ebola forces govt to close schools on November 25
By Damali Mukhaye
- The Ebola outbreak has since claimed the lives of eight learners, forcing government to direct schools to close on November 25 instead of December 6.
The Ebola outbreak has since claimed the lives of eight learners, forcing government to direct schools to close on November 25 instead of December 6.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, the State Minister for Primary Education, Ms Joyce Kaducu, said: “We decided to shorten the term by two weeks to curb the spread of the virus among learners and staff.”
Schools were also directed to conduct their promotional examinations earlier.
“Upon completion, children will be required to immediately return safely to their homes as they wait for their report cards,” Ms Kaducu said.
The set date excludes Senior Six candidates who complete their final examinations on December 9.
Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education examinations kick off on November 18.
This will be the last series of Uganda National Examinations Board examinations after Primary Leaving Examinations and Uganda Certificate of Education exams that end today and December 9, respectively.
However, some schools had already notified parents that their learners would return home by November 24 before the ministry’s communication.
The Director of Green Hill Academy, Ms Veronica Maraka, yesterday told Daily Monitor that they are ready to bring their exams forward, following the ministry’s directive.
“We are ready to comply with the ministry of Education directive. We do not see any problem with it provided it is for the safety of our learners,” Ms Maraka said.
Ms Kaducu added that learners will report back home in a staggered manner, most especially those in districts under lockdown to avoid congestion in bus and taxi parks.
“The Ministry of Health in conjunction with the Ministry of Transport will issue guidelines on the safe return of learners to their homes in the districts of Mubende and Kassanda before the close of third term and prepare learners mentally,” she said.
According to the guidelines the Daily Monitor has seen on safe release of learners from schools, those in boarding section in Mubende and Kasanda, who have Ebola-related symptoms, shall first be evacuated and isolated in a facility and tested by the field surveillance team before being declared free to go home.
The learner in the boarding section who is a contact of a confirmed or suspected Ebola virus case shall be quarantined within his or her school or designated facility and followed up daily for 21 days. Once examined and verified as safe, they will then be released to go home.
The guidelines further indicate that parents of the isolated learners will be guided on how to continue the support and monitoring remotely. They are also advised not to enter or travel outside of Mubende and Kasanda districts unless additional guidance is provided to this effect.
Students in boarding sections who are not contacts of any Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) case and with no symptoms studying in either Mubende or Kasanda will be issued with permits to travel to their respective home districts after screening and verification.
Arrangements should be made between the school and parents of learners, especially minors requiring picking up to enable their safe pickup at designated points as guided by the district task force.
Any learner whose home address is in Mubende or Kassanda but studying in other districts other than the two mentioned and who have EVD symptoms shall not be allowed to travel to Mubende or Kassanda.
All learners whose home address is in Mubende or Kassanda but studying in other districts and is a contact of a known or suspected EVD case shall be isolated as per standard guidelines for 21 days and not allowed to travel to the districts in question until clearance is given by the concerned authorities.