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Reopening of universities; Education ministry issues circular

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   The ministry of education has issued fresh guidelines on how universities shall be reopened following closure in March; to combat spread of covid 19. According to the latest guidelines, all universities are expected to resume operations in September this year. It is expected that by that time the rate of infections would have gone down.

  “The ministry of education in collaboration with other government agencies is working on the modalities of reopening all institutions of learning. Modelling projections by the ministry of health on when the peak of infections is projected to be in August/ September, and therefore, it is expected that fewer cases will be reported after September 2020.” reads a circular by the Principal Secretary for State Department for University Education Amb. Simon Nabukwesi and dated June 17, 2020.

  The PS has also directed universities to develop elaborate plans ahead of the reopening. In the plans, there should be measures to prevent spread of covid 19 transmissions. Top on the list of requirements is provision of clean running water and soap for hand washing and sanitizers for all students at all times.

  The universities should also ensure social distancing and that everybody should be compelled to wear masks.

   “Universities will ensure that all learners lecturers and non-teaching staff have masks. The universities may provide these at a subsidized rate to students and staff,” he adds.

   At all entry points to the universities, the ministry has directed that there be thermo guns for monitoring body temperature of all persons entering the the institutions.

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   Students and staff who may not be able to travel back to the universities should be accorded necessary support; including online learning for the students.

   “Universities are to ensure that contingency plans are provided for those students who might need assistance to get back to their institutions,” Nabukwesi directs.

   Further, universities shall now cease being used as isolation centres so as to sanitize/ fumigate them before operations resume.

   “Institutions whose facilities are still, currently, being used for isolation, quarantine or as treatment centres are supposed to liaise with ministry of health to cease any further admissions and to transfer the patients to MoH (Ministry of Health) facilities,” Says the PS.

   The institutions of higher learning are expected to have a crunch program to accommodate both the continuing students and first year year students.

   Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has been traversing the country to see preparedness of schools ahead of the September reopening date. Top in his mission is to find out if schools have adequate supply of clean water.

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