All learning institutions in Burundi are set to swing the doors open on Monday September 13, following a three-month long break that was imposed to mitigate the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic on a countrywide level.
As a result, the Ministry of Health has directed that all students will be screened for Covid-19 upon reporting back to school.
“The tests are mandatory for students in secondary school and boarding schools, the rest may go for the test voluntarily,” Jean Bosco Girukwishaka, spokesman for the Minister of Health said in an interview.
All students, teachers and staff members are undergoing mass testing, that’s meant to go on until Tuesday September 14.
A statement from the Ministry of Health reports that in the first week of September 2021 Covid-19 cases increased especially in Bujumbura and other towns in the countryside, as a result of not complying with already preventive measures against the pandemic.
The government’s Covid-19 report dated September 6, 2021 the daily average rate of new Covid-19 cases stood at 154, since July 21, 2021 the date when the highest number of new cases was recorded.
On the contrary, Uganda’s schools remain closed, despite the fact that several officials have hinted on reopening, and a slow successful vaccination campaign that was launched for the teachers late August.
The First Lady and minister of Education and Sports, Janet Museveni reiterated the president’s stance on schools only being able to reopen if the teachers and non-teaching staff were fully vaccinated.
A large amount of students have not been able to attend a physical lesson since May 2020 when the first wave of the pandemic culminated into an immediate call to shut down all learning institutions. However, some candidates and finalists have had the chance to attend physical lessons.
Appearing on TV recently, Information and National Guidance Minister Chris Baryomunsi said while it won’t be long before schools are opened, clear safety measures will have to be put in place.
“Since we expect dozens of vaccines, we should be able to vaccinate as many people as possible,” he said. The Ministry of Education spokesperson Denis Mugimba, says about 183,000 teachers have been vaccinated out of 550,000 teachers targeted, in addition to about 180,000 non-teaching staff.