By our senior reporter
NEWS– Information obtained by this Newsdesk from the Education and Sports stakeholders meeting indicates that heads of schools in the country have asked the government to consider allowing learners and their families to make personal contributions towards the prevention of Covid-19 once all education institutions are allowed to reopen.
The school heads are suggesting that learners should be required to report back with doses of the recently approved herbal relief treatment known as Covidex for their safety at their different schools and institutions.
The call was made during virtual stakeholder’s meeting which was called by the Ministry of Education and Sports aimed at getting views from school operators about safe reopening.
The meeting attracted up to 500 members and representatives of the various unions and associations of learning institutions.
Speaking during the meeting, Martin Okiria Obore, the National Chairman of the Association of Secondary School Head teachers of Uganda, said the newly invented Covid19 treatment should be seriously considered for the reopening.
“I understand that recently there has been discussions with (Prof Patrick) Ogwang on availing Covid19 at a subsidized cost of about Shs 5000 a bottle,” he said.
“If we can have a bottle at Shs 5000, then we think that students should be asked to come with at least 3 bottles each. If one develops symptoms they can take the Covidex. That will help much in addressing the fear that comes with new cases in schools,” he said.
The idea was welcomed by Ismael Mulindwa, the Assistant Commissioner of Private Schools Policy Regulations at Ministry of Education and Sports who chaired the meeting.
“We had not actually considered some of these measures such as that of Covidex; these are very important suggestions, I hope my colleagues here and the Ministry of Health are taking notes,” he said.
During the meeting, the Ministry of Education through Director of Education Standards Dr Kedrace Turyagyenda presented a number of new revised measures which will have to be followed by schools and local leaders once schools are opened by the president.
Dr Turyagyenda warned that individual heads of schools will be held responsible to ensure that once learners are back in school, they are forced to observe all the set SOPs.
Among others, the school heads will be required to ensure daily reporting of all leaners with symptoms and new cases to the District Covid19 task force.
The ministry has designed a system that will allow schools to relay this information using mobile phones.
On her part, Dr Irene Mwenyango from Ministry of Health said laxity in schools during the first reopening had caused a lot of problems as schools failed to report and often concealed Covid cases.
“Some schools were concealing the outbreaks, the supervision wasn’t conducted from school up to national level, there were so many challenges,” she said.
This time she said, the ministry of health has proposed among others ensuring that each school has an isolation room where positive learners can be kept and treated.
The ministry she said, is also working in intensifying sensitization to demystify and destigmatize Covid19 so that schools are not afraid of reporting case outbreaks.
On his part, Commissioner Ismael Mulindwa said the stakeholders will have to convince the President and Education Minister that everyone is serious about their role.
“We don’t want to go back to what happened with the first reopening. We didn’t comply to the SOPs as expected and schools had to be closed. We don’t want any more excuses from schools,” he said.
“At one point I went to a certain big school and there was no body in charge. The kids were coughing left and right and when I asked they said this was normal cough. In the end the school registered a large number of Covid19 cases,” he said.