By Antoinette Sendolo
After several discussions on the reopening of schools, most secondary schools across the country officially reopened yesterday but with a very poor attendance of students on various campuses.
Visiting some private and government run institutions yesterday, it seems there is still fear among students and parents as to whether it is prudent enough for students to go back to schools shortly after the outbreak of the virus and as well as the economic crisis that follows.
Most students at the schools visited by our reporter were seen in colored clothes apart from students at the Catholic-run institution Don Bosco Catholic High School who were all dressed in their full uniforms.
Speaking to the Principal of the D. Twe High School, Mr. Edwin Nagbe, he disclosed that the government of Liberia is yet to provide those necessary Anti-Ebola materials to his institution noting that his teachers need to be protected because they will be responsible to provide care for students in case they are not feeling well.
He said though some teachers are willing to help in the process; there is a need for the government to assign a nurse to at least provide first aid to students who might be showing signs and symptoms of the Ebola virus as required in the protocol on the reopening of schools drafted by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with UNICEF and other partners.
“All those things were to be in place before the government request that schools be reopened because the Ebola virus is nothing to joke with. If not for our Alumni Association and Oxfam, there wouldn’t have been any bucket here for hands-washing”.
Mr. Nagbe stressed that the use of Personal Protective Equipment by care takers and others on the various campuses is very important because it will help prevent the spread of the virus among students and teachers in case the virus breaks out on a particular campus.
At the Tubman High School in Sinkor, it was observed that all the basic Ebola preventive measures were taken into consideration including the washing of hands at various entrances, temperature check among other measures were considered by the students and other people on the campus.
In a brief conversation, the Vice Principal for Administration at the Tubman High School, Mr. KokuloDorborSuo told this paper that his institution is prepared to continue to provide education for students because they have all it takes to provide a safe learning environment for students.
“we are prepared for the reopening of schools as you can see; we have our hand washing buckets and we also have the thermo flash to test people’s temperatures before entering the campus in order to keep our students safe from the virus because Ebola is still looming in Liberia”.
Though the attendance of students was poor the basic Ebola preventive measures are taken seriously as required in the government’s protocol for the reopening of schools aimed at providing a safe and conducive learning environment for students across the country.
Visiting the Catholic-run institution, Don Bosco Catholic High School which had the highest attendance among those schools visited by our reporter, It was also observed that the basic Ebola preventive measures and the protocol given by the government of Liberia were intact.
The Principal of the Don Bosco Catholic High School, Father Sony Joseph said about eighty percent of the registered students were present in school yesterday and he is sure that the number will increase today noting that though there are some challenges, the institution is prepared to provide an Ebola-free learning environment for its students.
Father Joseph further explained that a memorandum of understanding has been signed between both the administration and parents that no student will be allowed to leave their home when they are not feeling well disclosing that the institution has provided a room to isolate students who will come down with fever or other signs and symptoms of the Ebola virus while on campus.
The government of Liberia through the Ministry of Education in collaboration with UNICEF and other partners has drafted a protocol on the reopening of schools which seeks to provide a safe learning environment for students across the country.
The protocol provides that all basic Ebola preventive measures be observed at various schools and also a health committee be organized to monitor the activities of students and provide some assistance for students in case they fall sick while on campus.