South Sudan council of ministers approves schools reopening across the country

Students at Salaam Schools, Juba, Photo credit: Salaam Schools

It is six months now since schools in South Sudan were shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. In a meeting  held in Juba on Friday, South Sudan council of ministers approved the reopening of schools.

“The cabinet has decided that all the higher institutes of learning and schools should resume” and as to when this will be determined by the ministers of higher education and the minister of general education,” minister of information, Michael Makuei said.

The minister of higher education and minister of general education have been directed to implement the order, but the actual date to unlock school gates for learners is yet to be announced.

Last week, the deputy minister of general education, Martin Tako inspected some schools in Juba, to find out how safe their environments were for learners.

According to the deputy minister, any school that does not meet the standard set will not reopen.  

As quoted by SSBC, the deputy minister said “any school that will not fulfill the criteria, we’ll not allow that school to function.”

The recent results indicate that the number of new covid-19 infections have decreased compared to in the previous months.

As of Friday, the country had 2,568 cumulative cases with 48 deaths, according to data filed by World Health Organization.

But this does not mean the virus has disappeared. 

Two weeks ago, the director-general of World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that “opening without control is a recipe for disaster.”

“At the same time, no country can just pretend the pandemic is over. The reality is that this coronavirus spreads easily, it can be fatal to people of all ages, and most people remain susceptible. If countries are serious about opening up, they must be serious about suppressing transmission and saving lives,” Dr. Adhanom said.

Dr. Adhanom said they wanted to see children returning to schools, but he said it should be done safely.

The virus is passed from one person to another through droplets launched when an infected person coughs, speaks or sneezes.

To curtail its transmission, people are advised to observe health guidelines including wearing a face mask in public, frequent hand washing, use of hand sanitizers in addition to keeping at least 1 meter distance away from others.