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Gov’t closes schools, universities amid coronavirus fears

Author: Woja Emmanuel | Published: Saturday, March 21, 2020

Candidates at Chinese Friendship Secondary School during the examinations on December 16, 2019. Credit: Charles Wote/Eye Radio

The government has suspended learning institutions for 30 days as part coronavirus preventive measures.

The order was issued by the office of the vice president for the service cluster yesterday.

There has not been any confirmed case of coronavirus as of today.

However, Vice President Abdulbagi Akol said in a statement that all primary and secondary schools, universities and other institutions of learning would be closed starting Friday, March 20, till April 20th.

“Your government has decided the following, Closure of all institutions of education pre-schools, primary schools, secondary schools, technical schools, national training institutes, and the universities, this includes both private and public educational institutions,” a statement from Vice President Hussein Abdelbagi said.

“The immediate closure of all health science institutes, suspension of all sporting events, religious events, socio-cultural events such as weddings, funeral rites, and political events”

On Monday, President Salva Kiir banned all social gatherings, sporting events, religious events, weddings, and political activities due to Coronavirus fears.

Several countries in the region have also ordered the closure of learning institutions including Kenya and Uganda through Uganda and South Sudan are the two countries in the East African region with no confirmed case.

Reactions from students and teachers 

Some students at Juba Diocesan Model Secondary School who spoke to Eye Radio in Juba have expressed different opinions on the closure of learning institutions amid coronavirus fears.

Some of them believed that the order would prevent the spread of the deadly virus to the country. while others insisted that the closure of the schools is going to affect their academic year calendar.

“No, I really don’t agree. In the case of South Sudan, we have just resumed studies. So if they chose to close the schools, it will really be so disadvantageous to us the students,” Sukenyi Modi Sube said.

“I think it would be better if the government itself could help in the provision of some preventive materials if they can provide us with masks, sanitation items like soaps.”

“I agree with it but at the other point, it affects us as students because we will have a lot of time at home and will miss lessons that will also delay our period in schools,” Enock Laku Casmiro added.

“It is a measure of presenting it but in other words, it is totally affecting our education.”

However, the Headteacher of Juba Diocesan Model Secondary School, Kei Robert said he will compile with the new order.

“As a headteacher, I am just a policy implementer. So I don’t think I have a voice to say,” said Kei Robert.

“Closing has a negative impact on the curriculum because time will be lost and the student will miss a lot but if it has become necessary that, it is the only way to make sure we are safe from the virus.”

For her part, the headmistress of Juba One Girls Primary School, Mary Samuel Jada closure of the schools is meant to save lives.

“It is better for us not to lost children because they are young. If they want to close, let them close it because the life of children is important because there many,” Mary Samuel Jad said.

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