Government introduces new Covid-19 measures in schools

Students participation during a class at Groupe Scolaire Kicukiro on January 13, 2021 . / Dan Nsengiyumva

The Ministry of Education has introduced new Covid-19 measures in schools to control the virus spread.

Salafina Flavia who is in Charge of Information, Education and Communication at the ministry told The New Times that one of the new measures is compelling students, teachers and school staff members to “stay at home if feeling unwell” and to stay in touch with local healthcare workers for assessment, testing and care.

“Those in boarding schools, if they are feeling unwell, there must be special measures of isolation and treatment,” she said.

While sports activities were previously banned, among the new measures individual sports activities are allowed.

Children above five years and staff must wear facemasks correctly at all times.

With new measures, Salafina said, children aged between two and five could also wear facemasks when needed depending on circumstances.

In addition, the new measure involve identifying students and teachers with pre-existing medical conditions and strategies to keep them safe.

She reminded schools to adhere to the new measures and those that were already in existence.

The measures aim at ensuring the safety of teachers and students at school and minimize the potential of school to be amplifiers for transmission of SARS-CoV-2 within communities.

School Covid-19 task force

In order to ensure that these guidelines are effectively implemented, a Covid-19 task force will be established in each school.

The task force, to be led by the head teacher, will include teachers, parents, and the head of the nearest health centre or a health professional well-versed in Covid-19 preparedness and response, a representative of the local authority at sector level.

The ministry says that the team has to report symptomatic suspected cases on a daily basis to the nearest health facility for immediate action, follow-up and ensure information sharing on public health prevention and control measures with parents and other members of the community.

It has to submit a daily report of suspected Influenza like Illness reported by students and school staff.

The team from the nearest district hospital and health centre, the ministry says, will continue to train school staff and health workers on safety and sanitation standards to be implemented as it is needed.

Enforcing measures

The measures includetemperature checks, proper wearing of a face mask, complying with social distancing and restrict movement while entering and exiting school premises.

Each student should remain within their own cohort throughout the school period, preferably within the same classroom, guidelines say.

Hand washing facilities and hand sanitizers, regular hand washing practices before and after every activity, adequate and appropriate ventilation in buses and private cars by opening windows are among the recommended measures.

The schools are supposed to designate at least two isolation rooms for suspect cases and avoid gatherings and contact sports as well as conducting regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and objects.

Sharing teaching aids among students and teachers is prohibited and if it must be shared, they should be decontaminated after every shift while also ensuring one-meter distance between a student and another.

In case a positive case is confirmed, close contacts and students with covid-19 symptoms must be tested and the classrooms be disinfected.

All positive cases must be isolated within designated rooms at the school while classes will continue for those tested negative.

External visitors are strictly prohibited on school premises while students are not allowed to leave campus.


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