COVID-19: Ugandan MPs oppose re-opening of schools

Aruu County MP Odonga Otto said parents are not willing to send their children back to school
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KAMPALA – Members of Parliament have opposed the re-opening of schools for candidate classes citing ill preparedness by government, schools and parents.

President Yoweri Museveni in his recent address directed that schools to re-open for candidate classes as one of the measure of easing the coronavirus lock down.

Members are concerned that no measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of students and teachers if schools are to re-open.

Workers MP, Margaret Rwabushaija asked government to come out clearly on safety measures for teachers and learners who do not reside in school premises.

“According to statistics, about 70 per cent of teachers are not accommodated in schools. What measures have you put in place to protect these teachers as they commute to and from the schools?” Rwabushaija said.

For students housed in school premises, MPs said there is need for government to guide schools on social distancing in dormitories.

“Boarding schools use double decker beds, how shall we ensure social distancing?” Bugabula South MP Maurice Kibalya asked.

Aruu County MP, Odonga Otto said there was no need of opening schools now as the prevalence of coronavirus is currently higher compared to the time when schools were closed.

“No child should be taken back to any school at this time; in my constituency people are not ready to take children to schools. Schools are dangerous just like churches and markets,” Odonga Otto said.

Busia Municipality MP, Geoffrey Macho said parents in Busia district are hesitant to send their children back to schools currently hosting COVID-19 cases under quarantine for fear of the infection.

Legislators were also concerned that re-opening of schools will financially strain parents and school owners who have been out of business for close to three months.

“How do you expect schools to pay teachers’ salaries? The same goes to parents who are expected to pay school and registration fees when they have not been working for three months,” said Kampala Central MP Muhammad Nsereko.

In response, the Primary Education State Minister, Rosemary Seninde said the ministry had not issued any statement on the opening date.

“It is true there has been something running on social media as a circular but as a ministry we have not sent out any. We are still discussing this issue and we pledge to make a statement next week,” said Seninde.

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