By Keefa Nuwahereza
President Yoweri Museveni has suspended the reopening of schools, universities and other educational institutions as a result of the increasing numbers of Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections.
The decision to halt the reopening of all educational institutions was carried a resolution by the Cabinet Meeting that sat at State House, Entebbe, on Monday September 14th, 2020, during which the President concurred with the National COVID-19 Taskforce that it was not advisable to reopen schools at such a time.
Our sources at State House reveal that officials on the National COVID-19 Taskforce advised government that given the current situation and upsurge in number of infections, reopening schools, universities and tertiary institution might lead to sporadic infections across the country, hence it is better to first wait until the situation normalizes.
The National COVID-19 Taskforce also advised that school administrators need more to put in place measures to observe the Ministry of Health Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 among learners and teachers, yet many of them do not have the funds to establish the same.
Museveni thus advised the COVID-19 Taskforce and officials from the Ministry of Education and Sports to go back and do more consultations on the best solution for the problem and establish measures under which educational institutions can be reopened without aggravating the spread of COVID-19.
The directive came at a time when word has been spreading across the country that government intends to reopen schools and universities in October, such that learners in candidate classes and finalists at universities can use the time given to them to prepare for the Ugandan National Examinations Board (UNEB) exams.
However, all this talk of reopening schools has since been rubbished by government and officials from the Ministry of Education have urged all learners and school administrators to patiently wait for official communication from the Ministry of Health and the COVID-19 National Task Force.
All schools, universities and tertiary institutions were closed in March this year by government after President Museveni announced a national lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The President advised that it is better to keep our children at home safe and healthy instead of risking their lives to leaving them at schools where they stand higher chances of contracting the deadly COVID-19, since educational institutions are usually characterized with huge gatherings of people, which breeds fertile ground for the spread of the virus.
Many schools and universities have since resorted to conducting online classes as a way of assisting learners catch up on the lessons they missed during the period of the lockdown.
It should be noted that Uganda has so far registered 56 COVID-19 deaths out of 4,978 cumulative cases of infection and 2,317 total recoveries.