More details as schools in Sierra Leone reopen
27th April 2015 We bring you some more detail on the reopening of schools in Sierra Leone, as cases of Ebola continue to drop drastically in the country. Attendance is still low due to fear but the government and its partners are working to ensure that children are safe and to raise attendance.
Unicef has supplied schools with soap and water and thermometers to check for fever and authorities have waived fees at state schools. Also, UNICEF and World Vision said they had trained teachers to support children bereaved by the virus.
About 1.8 million children are expected to return to catch up on a lost academic year but Sierra Leone’s Ministry of education, science and technology is hopeful that the 2014/15 academic curriculum can still be covered.
Janet Tucker, a child protection specialist of education says
“We know that the Ebola virus is still around but that notwithstanding, children need to go back to school. So UNICEF has supported the government to train 9,000 teachers from both primary and secondary schools so that these teachers will be able to support the children when they come back to school,”
In neighboring Guinea, more than 1.3 million children have already returned to school while in Liberia, preliminary data indicates that at least 800,000 students have resumed classes.
At the Sierra Leone Grammar School students like Favour Kiwesi Anku were taking precaution to sanitize their hands regularly and have their temperature taken.
He said “After play, wash your hands. If you are out of the bathroom, wash your hands again. That’s how you’ll be safe from Ebola,”
Another student Islahu Deen Adesina added
“You should always avoid body contact, touching touching, because Ebola can be spread through blood sweat and other things such as your saliva,”
The number of new cases has dropped dramatically but health workers say it is vital to avoid complacency if the epidemic is to be eradicated. Data from the World Health Organization showed that new weekly cases in the country fell to just 9 in the week to 5 April, down from more than 500 at the peak in December.