The proposals from both the inspection team and scientists will be discussed today by the sector’s top management before a decision is reached in tomorrow’s meeting that will be chaired by Education Minister Janet Museveni at State House, Entebbe.
Sources, who preferred anonymity because they are not the sector’s Covid-19 taskforce committee spokesperson, say they agreed to reopen schools to all learners in early January, and tasked the committee chairperson, Mr Ismail Mulindwa, to manage the processes.
“The position is that learners should go back to school this term to avoid a dead year. The only concern the meeting observed was adherence on wearing masks consistently and washing hands with soap,” the source, who attended the ministry’s meeting said.
However, another source said scientists have remained uncomfortable with some proposals, insisting that social distancing of two metres must be maintained.
In some discussions, the source added that they had suggested to reduce the distance to one metre considering that many institutions are struggling with space and classes are congested.
“When you look at a school, can the learners fit in? These other issues such as handwashing and masks can be sorted. But if you want to create space for everybody, you will need days to construct. We should be able to manage the issue of space within the available structures. That is a huddle we are discussing now,” the source said.
It is also a dilemma for the ministry to limit teachers’ movement once the schools fully reopen with fear that they can infect the learners.
But Mr Filbert Baguma, Uganda National Teachers’ Union general secretary yesterday said it will be impossible since many schools do not have staff houses.
“It is difficult managing teachers’ movement. In some areas, there are no houses at all. They have to commute. Some proposals can’t fit in all circumstances,” Mr Baguma said.
There are already reports that some schools have started allowing in learners in other classes in addition to candidates who were officially cleared last year to report to complete their studies.