KAMPALA – President Yoweri Museveni is on Thursday, February 4, expected to address the nation on the Covid-19 pandemic and related issues.
The address that is starting at 7 PM according to his party, NRM, the President is expected to clarify when schools are reopening for non-candidate classes.
On Monday, the cabinet approved a recommendation for the reopening of schools to non-candidate learners that were closed in March 2020 as a measure to control the spread of coronavirus disease.
Although no dates were announced for the official reopening, the cabinet said that schools will now be allowed to reopen in a staggered manner that will ensure compliance with COVID-19 standard Operating Procedures.
The Ministers resolved that in order to complete the academic year and ensure progression, all semi candidate classes, which include Primary six, senior three and senior five should report back to school in the short term and study with the candidate classes. Promotion to the next class will be based on attendance and continuous assessment of classwork and assignments.
However, the cabinet resolved that Pre-Primary schools remain closed because the learners in this category cannot observe SOPs and are prone to respiratory infections. It added that because many of the pre-primary institutions are day-based, there is a lot of interfaces between learners, teachers and parents, which could increase the risk of infections.
The higher institutions were given a task to open in the short term. The Technical Vocational Education and Training Institutions, National Teachers Colleges’ and Primary Teachers Colleges are expected to open in the short term because many of them have the infrastructure capacity for the number of students enrolled, to observe the social distancing requirement. The ministers said that all students in these tertiary institutions should be allowed to report back with the final year students.
However, scientists under the national COVID-19 task force said it is risky at the moment and appealed to President Yoweri Museveni that they wait until learners are vaccinated.
The cabinet also approved the procurement of 18 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
According to the Ministry of Health spokesperson Emmanuel Ainebyona, working with the National Medical Stores (NMS), the ministry has already placed an order for doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine made by the British-Swedish pharmaceutical of the same name. The Serum Institute of India will provide Uganda with the doses.
Ainebyona said that the dosses will be used to vaccinate persons from the age of 50 and above, those with underlying health conditions, health workers, security personnel, teachers among other essential special service providers.