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Juba school’s reopening angers parents

Author: Lugala Mulai | Published: Tuesday, June 23, 2020

A class in session at Gudele Parents and Jadah Jedid Nursery and Primary School on Monday, June 22 2020 | Credit | Dhal Malual

Parents across the country have strongly criticized some private schools for reopening despite a lockdown on learning institutions due to coronavirus fears.

This comes after some schools in Juba reopened classes for candidates on Monday.

Gudele Parents and Jadah Jedid Nursery and Primary School in Juba is one of the schools that resumed lessons for primary 8 candidates on Monday.

The reopening is in total violation of the orders by the Ministry of Health to keep people away from crowded areas.

In March, the task force on coronavirus closed schools and other social gatherings in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus.

South Sudan currently has close to 2,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and there are zero mass testing, few quarantine centers and fewer personnel protective equipment.

Some of the pupils seen in classes on Monday wore only facemasks without gloves and a bit of social distance between desks.

It is not clear if the pupils, teachers and other school staff were tested for the virus before reporting to school.

According to UNICEF, reopening schools without proper hygiene facilities, respiratory etiquette, physical distancing measures, cleaning procedures for facilities and safe food preparation practices are a serious risk to children.

Most of the parents who spoke to Eye Radio condemned the school administration for putting the lives of their children at risk.

They demand that the schools remain close until medical experts can ensure it is safe for every child to return to school.

“I cannot allow my child to return to school just because he or she is a candidate in Primary 8 or Senior 4; this is dangerous and makes no sense,” said an angry parent.

According to the Center for Disease Control, the more students or staff member interacts with each other, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of spreading coronavirus.

“It’s very wrong and those who started this should be investigated by the ministry of health and the ministry of education and they should close down that school because this is not the right move. It’s wrong move,” another parent told Eye Radio.

This is because the virus is mostly spread by respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough, or sneeze.

It can be found on contaminated surfaces such as school desks, chairs, chalkboards, playground equipment, door handles.

One parent told the Sundown program that he would rather his child misses school for a year than risk getting the disease that may likely be spread at home – after the child returns from school.

“If I may ask, between school and the life of your child, which one is more important? A year is nothing. Schools will always be there,” the parent asked.

“Schools should remain closed because the life of our children is at risk here.”

Some countries like Uganda have advised against the reopening of schools, including universities amid the pandemic.

Instead, President Yoweri Museveni has promised to distribute radio sets to each household to enable learning via ready until it is safe for children to resume classes.

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