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Private Schools Ask Parents to Provide Masks, Handsanitizers for Finalists

In addition to the usual contentious requirement lists that shcools are known for,finalists returning to their respective schools will have to carry liters of handsanitizers, jik and several two layered facial masks. Some schools have also gone ahead to ask for facial shield and even stipulate the colour of mask that parents are supposed to buy

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As schools prepare to re-open, the list of requirements that learners in private schools will have to report with has exponentially grown due to COVID-19 related standard operating procedures.

This comes as private schools will have to implement a number of health measures like providing handwashing facilities through out schools as requested by the education ministry. Government schools will be given handwashing facilities and even JIK, while private schools will not be getting this support.

As a result, many have shifted the burden to parents. Several school circulars that Uganda radio Network - URN has seen from several private schools within Kampala ahead of the return of finalists, are asking parents to provide a number of items.

In addition to the usual requirement lists that schools are known to ask, finalists returning to their respective schools will have to carry liters of handsanitizers, jik and several two layered facial masks. Some schools have also gone ahead to ask for facial shield and even stipulate the colour of mask that parents are supposed to buy.

While some parents are happy that their children will be returning to classrooms, those that URN spoke to said the requirements are a bit too much.

Amos Apio, a parent to two finalists, one in primary seven and another in senior four says that the requirements are adding onto the strain of sending the learners back to school. "These schools are asking for too many things. How do they expect us to manage. I have two candidates and all the schools are asking for so many things. We were all in COVID-19 and we were affected in the same way, we were all not working. Government needs to help us and reign in on these schools," he said.

Hussein Kakande, a parent with a senior six finalist says that schools need to work together with parents to provide some essentials for learners.

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Batte Gonzaga, an administrator at Dream Africa Schools says that some of the things they are asking will help to ensure that everyone is safe within the school's environment.

All candidates in the schools are being asked to report with five bottles of sanitizers, five face masks and all school fees paid. He says the schools are asking for these requirements because they need help.

" We want the candidates to be safe but we also want to safe guard the lives of the teachers. Everyone was affected by this disease and we cannot say that we can provide all the things that government wants. We can only provide some and need our dear parents to step in and assist us," he said.

Hasadu Kirabira, the Kampala representative on the Kampala National Private Educational Institutions Association (NPEIA), says that schools should not be asking parents to provide sanitizers for learners because they are not needed in schools.

He says due to fears that learners might abuse the use of sanitizers, schools within Kampala have been advised by the district education officer not to use them. Only teachers will be allowed to use them.

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Kirabira quickly adds that instead of asking for sanitizers, disinfectants like JIK would be a better requirement to ask for. He also supports the decision by schools to ask parents to provide masks. He says even if the government promised to provide masks for all learners, this might not be possible by Thursday.

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An estimated 1.2 million finalists are expected to return to schools this week. According to the ministry of health, 5.7 billion shillings is needed for the procurement of masks for all learners.

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