Government Rescinds Decision to Reopen Schools

The government has gone back on its promise to reopen education institutions, closed more than two months ago as means to curb the spread of the Coronavirus Disease.

Speaking today at State Lodge Nakasero, President Yoweri Museveni said, when he allowed candidates in Primary Seven, Senior Four, Senior Six and finalists in tertiary institutions to resume school, there had been no proper assessment of the risk that the reopening posed.     

“I had talked about opening schools after  June 4, but we have further studied this  with the scientists and the eventual decision was to delay. We have 1.4million children in these candidate classes and finalists. We don’t have enough testing kits for testing those numbers every two weeks,” Museveni said. 

He added that the country has the machines necessary to doing the testing however, there are not enough reagents that are key in the testing. 

“Even if we could test all the candidates and finalists, there is the issue of day scholars. Even for the boarding school, there are workers and the teacher who move to and from the school. We have therefore, decided that we shouldn’t bite too much at a time,” Museveni said.    

The president added that the reopening of private cars has already unleashed a big number of people in the towns, and the last thing they need is to add on students. 

He said that the government is considering providing two television sets for every village in Uganda or a radio for every family so that no children is left out. The plan is to ensure that the children continue learning using the various long distance platforms.

Museveni said public transport will resume this Thursday June 4, provided that the car carries half its normal capacity exclusive of the driver and the conductor.  This time however, the reopening is not tagged on the distribution of the free government facial masks. 

He said there was a delay in the distribution of the masks because of problems in  manufacturing. He however assured that the distribution will start on June 10, starting with border districts.  

“If you don’t have a mask, stay home,” Museveni said. For boda bodas who have started agitating for resuming carrying passengers, the president said, they should forget that for now until such a time when the disease is totally defeated.  

“We can’t risk the lives of our people because of business…This is not the time to be polite; we can’t continue with this menace, the boda boda the least they can do, is keeping quiet until the disease is over,” Museveni said. 

The president also allowed the reopening of shopping malls on June 4, provided they too observe social distancing, wash hands regularly or use sanitizers.   For the churches and mosques, the president said they should hang in a little more as the government observes the impact of reopening public and private transport. 

“We are not relaxing the lockdown because the danger has gone in fact, more Ugandans are getting sick,” Museveni said. Meanwhile, the president revealed that he had discussed with the Director of Public Prosecution and the Attorney General to have the over 4000 people who have been arrested and charged with disobeying lockdown orders to be freed from prison provided they don’t have any other serious cases against them.      

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Abitegeka Gerald

The News Editor ,Reporter at Kagadi Kibaale community Radio

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