Last month, Elizabeth Namanda the Luwero District Chief Administrative Officer wrote to all schools in the district communicating the Ministries of Education and Health guidelines which they must meet before they reopen.
Namanda said schools must put in place COVID 19 school-based care facilities which include isolation facilities, surveillance programs, and standard kits as provided by Standard Operating Procedures.
She also directed that all teachers, as well as learners aged above 18 years, should be vaccinated before they are allowed back to school. The schools were also directed to restrict the entry of the public to schools by fencing the premises and hiring guards to oversee the gates among other several guidelines.
But Daniel Ssajjabi the Chairperson of Luwero Private Primary and Secondary Schools Association says although they have managed to put in place basic facilities to mitigate the spread of COVID 19 among learners, they are still unable to meet all requirements to reopen.
Ssajjabi says that they have acquired handwashing facilities and they will ask learners to put on masks at all times while at school. He, however, noted that it was impossible to find space for isolation facilities, buy tents, and fence school premises among others yet they are financially incapacitated.
Ssajjabi also poured scorn on the government’s proposal requiring schools to recruit qualified medical personnel to oversee sick bays at school yet itself is struggling to pay them.
Ssajjabi asked the District Task Force and School Inspectors to allow schools to reopen and work on each guideline slowly as they get fees from learners. He also revealed that so far eight schools have closed in Luwero and government should appreciate those that are determined to reopen amidst the challenges.
Daudi Muwanga the Headteacher of St Antonios Monde SS says that the private schools should be given up to one month to put in place some of the requirements.
Muwanga says that, unlike government schools that were allocated funds to meet the requirements, private schools are still struggling to reopen.
Headteachers say they need over four million shillings each to put in place the requirements yet they have spent two years out of business.
Daniel Kyaterekera the Luwero District Secretary for Education says that although the government didn’t disburse money to private schools to put in place the requirements, they can still acquire loans and ensure they comply with the guidelines.
Enoch Kiyemba the Luwero District Senior Education Officer said they can’t relax or relax on enforcement of any guideline because they are only implementers and advised those who can’t adhere to them not to reopen.
Kiyemba cautioned schools against reopening and putting learners’ lives at risk of COVID 19 infections.
Juliet Najjuma Ssenkole the Luwero Resident District Commissioner has also asked the schools to fulfill the set guidelines if they want to reopen.
Najjuma also accused some schools of previously failing to declare suspected COVID 19 positive learners which contributed to the spreading of the virus.