Health ministry sets stringent measures for reopening schools, wants 10 learners per classroom

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The Ministry of Health has set stringent measures requiring primary education institutions to have at most 10 pupils per classroom and only 15 students for secondary schools, tertiary institutions and universities, before they can reopen.

According to reports, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, the Health minister, wrote to the minister of Education Hon. Janet Museveni outlining several standard operating procedures that all educational institutions must follow to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease when they are finally allowed to reopen.

Dr. Aceng emphasized a two-meter distance between learners and teachers, handwashing, and routine screening of learners and staff.

According to the Daily Monitor, she warned that when a case is detected, the school will be cordoned off until all contacts to the confirmed case are identified, before it is closed. The school will be allowed to reopen after 21 days.

Below is the list of measures that must be made prior to reopening.

-Committee with seven members who write a report to the district taskforce daily.
-Each class to have a student leader specifically for Covid-19
-District Education officer to lead the district taskforce.
-District Health Officer to train teachers, heath workers and non-teaching staff on the control measures
-Each school to recruit health assistant.The district taskforce to disinfect all institutions which were used as quarantine centres.
-Compulsory wearing of masks and hand washing.
-Full time trained personnel to do temperature screening.
-A well calibrated working temperature gun at each entrance, exit from dormitory.
-Isolation room to accommodate suspected cases.
-Learners with flu like symptoms sent home.
-A foot operated hand washing facility with water provided at all times
-At least five litre liquid soap available all time.
-Waste water disposed of in a constructed soak pit of 4 meters depth with hardcore stones.
-All learners keep social distance of two metres.
-Assembly discouraged
-Restrict community access
-Supervise learners washing hands.
-Supervise break periods and scatter releasing students for breaks, lunch and going home to limit interaction.
-Four square metres per student per class, from one metre square are required to achieve the two metre distance between learners.
-Only 10 and 15 students can be accommodated in a standard classroom for primary and secondary and tertiary institutions respectively.
-Additional streams and new infrastructure requirements or modification may be required to accommodate the other students.
-Additional teachers may be required to teach the extra classes or adjust timetables to accommodate the increase in the number of streams and repurposing teachers may be required.
-Curriculum to be reviewed to address the shortened period of face to face and provide materials that can be delivered online.
-Ensure good ventilation equivalent to 1 per cent of the total floor area
-Ensure presence of windows equivalent to 10 per cent of the total floor area.
-Natural light on both walls
-Keep windows open
-Disinfect at end of day
-Confirmation of one case in a learning institution leads to automatic closure.
-The institution will be cordoned off and secured until all the contacts to the confirmed case are identified and listed by health teams. The school will then be closed.
-The institution will then be disinfected and reopened after 21 days.
-Teachers and others who may not be residents in the school will be required to observe self-quarantine at home.

The health team also identified day scholars, suppliers, teachers, cooks, cleaners, security personnel, visitors, gates, compounds, classrooms, furniture tops, library, staffroom and offices, dining halls, dormitories, hostels, toilets and bathing areas, sports fields, sickbays, examination setting and staff quarters as high risk points of contacts.

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Joshua Amaitum

A creative and passionate writer who loves to work magic with words