Over 800 COVID-19 positive cases reported in schools across Uganda

Fear as schools reopen for non semi-candidates against govt's ‘phased manner’
Students washing their hands after break time as one of the SOPs at Kisubi Mapeera Senior Secondary School at Entebbe on 12th October 2020. COURTESY PHOTO/DAVID LUBOWA

Kampala, Uganda | URN | At least 803 learners from different institutions in Uganda have tested positive for COVID-19 deadly disease.

According to the health ministry, the learners who tested positive are from 29 schools in 17 districts. Some of the districts where the cases came from are Kampala, Wakiso, Gulu, Arua, Masaka and Jinja.

Data from the health ministry indicates that cases have been reported from 10 nursing schools, 11 secondary schools and seven primary schools. Cases were also picked from one Tertiary Institution and Primary Teaching Colleges. Also Kyambogo University has reported 8 cases of the disease (six students and two administrative staff).

Dr Henry Mwebesa, the director-general of health services says the rise in cases over a one month period is worrying.

Dr Mwebesa attributed the rising number of cases in learning institutions to the high levels of complacency in the schools. He also urged the schools to report when they get positive cases instead of hiding them to avoid worsening the condition.

The chair of the ministerial COVID-19 scientific task force says the rapid increase in cases of learners is the main reason why the government has been hesitant to re-open nursery schools.

Ismail Mulindwa, the director of Basic Education who also doubles as the chairperson of the Education COVID-19 Response Committee says the ministry is yet to take any decision on what they can do to address the increasing cases in schools.

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“We are going to a meeting right now to discuss the issue. We have seen the reports and know what is happening,” Mulindwa said.

Learners in P1 to P3 are supposed to be resume learning on June 7, 2021, according to the revised school calendar. However, given the increase in the COVID-19 cases, a source from the education ministry who prefers to remain anonymous says the increasing number of cases in learning institutions might hinder this.

“With all this happening, the remaining classes (P1-3) might not return to school as scheduled. These classes normally have the highest concentration of learners in the education system,” the source hinted.