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Schools to Reopen for Finalists as Govt Eases Restrictions

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The partial reopening was announced this evening by President Yoweri Museveni, as he eased lockdown restrictions for sectors that had remained closed amidst a spike in COVID-19 cases. Also allowed to reopen under strict guidelines are places of worship, the airport, and land borders.
20 Sep 2020 23:21
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Schools will reopen on October 15, 2020, but only for candidate classes, after more than six months of inactivity. The partial reopening was announced this evening by President Yoweri Museveni, as he eased lockdown restrictions for sectors that had remained closed amidst a spike in COVID-19 cases. Also allowed to reopen under strict guidelines are places of worship, the airport, and land borders.

While delivering his 20th televised COVID-19 national address, the president noted that although the government had decided to institute strict guidelines, he could not reverse the lockdown despite the increasing cases and deaths being registered. The country has in recent weeks recorded a spike in cases especially in parts of Kampala, bringing the cumulative cases to 6,287 and 63 deaths.

Museveni rather noted that moving forward the emphasis should be put on the observation of standard operating procedures focussing on individuals and communities. He argued that the death and surge in infections should have convinced sceptics that "the disease is no joke."

//Cue in: “Nevertheless we cannot…

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Basing on the assumption that standard operating procedures will be followed to the dot, the president has ordered for the commencement of learning for candidates in Primary seven, senior four, senior six and finalists in tertiary institutions and universities. The learners, according to the president,  will report to their respective schools on October 15.

He argues that available information indicates that the population of candidates will be safe since the finalist are just less than 10 per cent (1.2 million learners) out of the 15 million learners that have been home since March 21. Museveni adds that each group of finalists has a huge space and if they are delayed they might clog the entire education system.

//Cue in; “We have decided...

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Museveni noted that although finalists were going back to school, their counterparts in other classes would remain home until January when the government will decide on what could be done moving forward.

To this effect, he says, in the due course,  the Ministry of Education is going to ensure that the homeschooling programme is put up to ensure continued learning. The said learning will be through radio and television broadcast lessons on top of self-study materials that are going to be distributed soon than later.

In June this year, the cabinet approved the purchase of 9 million radio sets to every household and 137,466 solar-powered television sets to villages in Uganda. Furthermore, Uganda received funding from the World Bank through the Global Partnership for Education to, among other things, facilitate the production of self-study materials.

Museveni notes that the government is in the process of getting the said equipment ready.

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In the same development, Museveni said that if there is any school that might fail to reopen due to the nature of the business, the Ministry of Education will take up the affected learners. But also, he directed the Ministry of Finance to help the private institutions that are currently incapacitated.

However, the president's speech has not spelt out the expected teaching procedure for finalists. There have been suggestions that the clock should be rewound to the second term yet other forces say that they should report for the third term.

As earlier working documents had suggested, the president says that international schools who according to their calendar are due for the first term can have a special arrangement with the ministry of education regarding their reopening for full-scale operation provided they follow SOPs

Places of worship have also been reopened on condition that only 70 faithful are allowed to attend a single session. However, the president highlighted that night fellowship should not be held.

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Meanwhile, the president has also ordered the open of the skies and land borders for tourists who have a negative COVID-19 test certificate. He says that the tour companies should however ensure that they don’t mingle with the rest of the population.

Museveni also pointed out that Ugandans who are currently abroad and would want to return home are free to fly in if they possess the said certificate. Upon return, the said group of people will not be subjected to mandatory quarantine as the protocol has been but they will be monitored from their respective homes.

In the same way, sports activities carried out in the open have been allowed to resume without spectators and on conditions that players are tested for covid72 hours before the games. However, this doesn’t apply to indoor activities.

Restriction of movement in border district has been lifted, Curfew time has been maintained while bars, public gatherings, cinema halls, and mobile market plus monthly cattle auctions have not been allowed to reopen. 

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