Filbert Baguma, the Secretary-General of UNATU says the SOPs and guidelines recently issued do not answer all the worries that teachers have. He says teachers are worried about measures that will keep them safe from Covid-19.
The Uganda National Teacher Union has said that the Standard
Operating Procedures-SOPs that were released by the education and health
ministries to guide the re-opening of schools raise more questions regarding
the safety of learners and teachers.
Last week, President Okayed the reopening of schools for all
candidates and final students in tertiary institutions provided they have
fulfilled the COVID-19 guidelines.
Some of the
guidelines include Primary and secondary schools will not be allowed to operate
both day and boarding sections at the same time, teachers and the learners
should wear face masks, practice social
distancing, among others.
Filbert Baguma, the Secretary-General of UNATU says the SOPs that
have been given to schools are not satisfactory.
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Baguma says the SOPs and guidelines recently issued do not answer
all the worries that teachers have. He says teachers are worried about measures
that will keep them safe from Covid-19.
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In addition to the SOPs, teachers are worried whether they will be reprimanded
when learners perform poorly at national examinations or if they do not complete
the syllabus on time. Some teachers are also concerned about the safety of
marking books, while others are worried about existing co-morbidities that make
them more susceptible to getting infected.
Dr Henry Kajumbura, a microbiologist and head of infection
prevention and control on the COVID-19 ministerial committee says that if
teachers adhere to the set guidelines, they will not get infected.
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According to Dr Kajumbura, the released SOPs are supposed to make
the learning environment in schools safe. He explains that schools should enforce
preventive measures at school gates such as checking temperatures and ensuring
everyone entering a school wears a mask.
"We worked with the ministry of education to come up with SOPs that can
allow for schools to re-open. Protecting oneself is important. If people take
precautions to protect themselves, they will protect everyone else," he
Kajumbura, however, urged teachers to take caution when it comes
to socializing with persons in communities.
"What we are seeing from health workers is that measures in
treatment facilities are very strong but outside they are not. We, therefore,
advise the association to tell its members to take care when in
communities," he said.
An estimated 1.2 million learners are expected to return to
schools next week after six months following the outbreak of the COVID-19
Last month, Dr Kedrace Turyagenda, the Director of Education
Standards in the Ministry of Education said that they have developed a
checklist from the SOPs that all schools need to implement before they are allowed
of the measures include the ability to maintain a population of 15 students and
10 pupils in a classroom, learners should sit two meters away from each other
and every learner will be mandated to wear a mask during lessons. All
classrooms will also have to have good ventilation.