Kyambogo Management Asks Gov’t to Reopen Namboole for COVID-19 Positive Students

According to the Vice Chancellor, Kyambogo has already registered 50 Covid-19 positive cases of students and eight positive cases of staff and fortunately, no one has died .
Professor Eli Katunguka Rwakishaya, the Vice Chancellor Kyambogo University. Photo by Ronard Shabomwe.

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Officials of Kyambogo University have appealed to the Government to reopen a COVID-19 Management facility at Namboole National Stadium for isolation and management of  students who test positive.

Addressing the media about the COVID-19 situation in Kyambogo University on Monday, Vice Chancellor Professor Eli Katunguka Rwakishaya said that the situation in the University is worrying because of the number of COVID-19 cases so far registered.

According to the Vice Chancellor, Kyambogo has already registered 50 Covid-19 positive cases of students and eight positive cases of staff and fortunately, no one has died.

“So far, many students and staff have tested positive," said Katunguka. "In addition, many students have flue and cough and a number of them have refused to be tested, so the situation may be worse than is reported.”

The professor says for this reason, the government should reopen Namboole specifically for managing these positive students and staff because the students who test positive have nowhere to go, so they keep on coming back in the university and infecting friends in hostels.

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In light of the fast-growing COVID-19 incidents, the health ministry earlier transformed parts of Namboole National Stadium into an auxiliary hospital to cater for the rapidly increasing numbers last year 2020.

The facility began with a capacity of 1,500 beds, as health officials continued to track the COVID-19 situation in the country.Later, the facility was closed.

The Director of Health Services at Kyambogo medical center Grace Meregurwa, similarly says that the government should reopen Namboole National Stadium for the positive cases.  He adds that health ministry has taken over 800 samples for which the university is yet to receive the results and they are worried that the cases from these samples might be many due to the existing flu and cough among students.

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With the cases increasing rapidly, Kyambogo has put in place strict measures like reducing number of staff coming to the university, lecturing strictly going online and limiting the number of people accessing the university.

Caroline Ayebare, a student leader serving as minister of Health in 17th Guild leadership calls upon the student’s fraternity to adhere to COVID-19 SOPs to avoid the further worsening of the situation.

She says that no person is allowed to enter the campus without a mask on and washing hands, but when students reach inside the university, they pocket the masks and do not social distance themselves, which Ayebare says is dangerous to the community.

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Last week, Kyambogo University announced that there will be no more physical lectures due to increasing cases of COVID-19 in the University. Professor Katunguka notes that they are left with no option other than embracing Open Distance and electronic learning- ODeL policy.

“Before reopening the university, we had planned for blended learning involving both physical and online learning, however, due to the existence of COVID-19 at the university, we fully adopted our earlier plan of going online,” adds Katunguka.

He further notes that unfortunately, some section of students is opposing ODeL, adding that that is why students led by the Guild President were striking last week saying that they wanted to study physically but the university shall not allow that.

According to the professor, the university has enough infrastructure and capacity to conduct studies online, urging all Deans and Heads of Department to engage the students through ODeL as planned.

On the issue of vaccination, he says that out of 1,000 staff of Kyambogo, only 400 have already received the vaccine and calls upon the remaining 600 staff who are still refusing, to come up and take the jab. Kyambogo has over 30,000 students both at the main campus and outside the university.