Several schools were thrown in confusion following the President’s directive requiring all educational institutional to close as a preventive measure against COVID 19.
While announcing the directive in a televised address on Wednesday evening, President, Yoweri Museveni, said it was necessary to close schools to ensure that COVID 19 doesn’t spread to high risk environments such as schools.
The directive came in the middle of the school term with about six more weeks to the end of the term. Schools have until midday on March 20, 2020 to have shut down. Our reporters visited several school and found head teachers addressing teachers on the presidential directive before sending off learners for the next 32 days.
However, some of the teachers explained that the premature order to close the schools has left them in confusion. Edward Kanoonya, the head teacher Kololo Secondary School, said they send away candidates with work to keep them busy at home.
Betty Nalubega, the deputy head teacher Kampala Capital City Authority primary School Kamwokya, says the presidential directive has left the with no choice but to leave learning in the hands of learners.
“We have decided to give books to the pupils in upper classes so that they can go home and do some reading on their won but unfortunately, primary students require a teacher to enable them understand topics they are studying. Even some parents are not able to help their children,” Nalubega said.
Thomas Lwanga, the Head teacher City High School, says the presidents’ pronouncement caught them unaware, adding that they are still searching a way forward on how to handle the situation.
To try and mitigate the effects of the sudden closure, schools are sending learners home with holiday packages or assignments to keep them busy. The heads of schools, say that such measures are needed, saying if nothing is done to help the learners stay tuned; many of them will forget the little they have learned.
At Kitante Hill School, the school printer was working nonstop to print work for batches of work for learners. Catherine Onen, the head teacher, said that they were planning to send learners with some work so that they can continue learning even when they away from from school.
“We are now organizing to see how we can end the term tomorrow. We are planning on sending students in candidate classes with holiday packages so that when they come back they can sit for end of term examinations,” she said. Kanoonya says that they are focusing more on candidate classes because they have the most to lose.
Parents that URN spoke are equally confused. Patrick Mugisha, a parent of a senior five student who recently reported to school, says the money he spent to take his daughter to school is going to be wasted.
“We just paid money and less than two weeks later, we are picking our children. I know we are in an emergency but this is worrying. I just spent more than one million. Who is going to refund this money to me,” Mugisha said.