President Yoweri Museveni has directed a phased re-opening of semi-candidate classes starting 1st March 2021.
The president’s announcement was communicated during a nation address Museveni made on Thursday from State House Entebbe and aired on different media.
According to the directive, the learners who will be going back to classes are those in Primary Six, Senior Three and Senior Five. Under this arrangement, about 1.7 million learners are expected to report to school on March 1st and join their counterparts in candidate classes whose classes opened last year.
However, Universities and tertiary institutions will also open in March for students under a staggered approach with one class studying while another is at home to avoid overcrowding which may propel the spread of coronavirus.
For other learners, Museveni advised that they should continue to learn at home through long-distance education which was prescribed last year in March when schools were closed. He however expressed concern over the radio and online learning strategy which was messed up by government officials.
“The ministry of education according to the president will work out a plan on how they can also come to school in order to compliment what they are learning at home. The idea is to stagger them as one class comes to school while the other is out as a way of keeping numbers in class less” He added.
Museveni also said closing schools following the COVID-19 outbreak was a wise decision and the phased re-opening has worked well owing to the few fatalities Uganda has registered since. He attributed the few numbers of COVID-19 fatalities to the guidelines that were put in place by government.
“Out of 1.3million learners currently in class, only 257 have been reported with coronavirus with no death which is a success. It was a calculated risk and the strategy worked” he said.
Overall, Museveni said Uganda is still doing well in combating the spread of COVID-19 with 39075 confirmed cases and the death are 327 which is relatively good compared to fatalities in other countries like America or Europe.
President Museveni said by end of February or March, Uganda will have started vaccinations against COVID-19 following an order for 3.5million doses through COVAC and 18 million doses from India. He said the vaccination campaign ties up with opening of schools. Health workers first, security personnel, teachers and elders will benefit from the first 3.5 dose batch.
As for business sectors that have remained closed like bars, theatres, and discotheques, the Ministry of Heath will continue to study the situation under which they can be opened, but the introduction of vaccines would make the businesses safer.