More Education Institutions Close After Registering COVID-19 Cases

Amid a new COVID-19 wave in Uganda, several institutions of learning are being forced to temporarily suspend physical teaching and learning activities after students and staff tested positive for the virus.
A candidate at St Martins Primary School in class. As learning resumes, candidates are not allowed to engage into co-curricular activities. Photo by Christopher Kisekka

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More schools and institutions of learning have been forced to temporarily close after students and staff tested positive for the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Green Hill Academy Secondary School (S1-S2) and Cavendish University Uganda are among the recent ones to suspend operations.    

In a letter to parents and guardians, Wilberforce Kamengo, the headteacher of Green Hill Academy secondary school, notes that the school has registered a few confirmed cases thus sending all students of S1 and S2 back home. He however doesn't tell how many cases have been registered at the school.

“...and as a result, we are sending students home for two weeks to curb the contagious nature of the variant and as well disinfect the school environment. Students will be released today (May 31),” Kamengo’s letter reads in part.    

In the same development, Nsambya based Cavendish University has also closed after registering two COVID-19 cases. Professor John F. Mugisha, the University Vice-Chancellor, says following incidents of infection, and out of the abundance of caution for students’ and staff safety, they have decided to halt physical lectures with immediate effect.    

“All continuing students will take the remaining 2 weeks of the semester studying online from their homes or hostels. No Continuing student will be allowed to access University premises from 31st May 2021. New students will be allowed to study on campus following disinfection of all university campus premises,” noted Professor Mugisha.    

This comes at a time when Kyambogo University, which had eight confirmed cases also decided to halt physical classes after registering cases from staff and student communities.    

Last week the Ministry of Health reported that over 29 educational institutions from 17 districts registered a total of 803 cases sending scare into the communities.    

Scientists have blamed the infections in schools for complacence in enforcing Standard Operating Procedures. Before reopening, schools were told to ensure that students keep their masks on all the time, regularly wash their hands, and keeping a two-metre distance at all times. 

Ismail Mulindwa, the director of Basic Education who also doubles as the chairperson of the Education COVID-19 Response Committee, says the ministry is working closely with their health counterparts to find a way forward on the ever-increasing cases in schools.

Mulindwa, however, asked school authorities to ensure that they embark on enforcing standard operating procedures.   

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Last year, millions of children couldn’t attend classes due to the COVID-19 induced lockdown, which forced the government to close all educational institutions. The lockdown has wreaked havoc on the education sector and likely to worsen the already waning learning outcomes.    

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