The Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) recently announced that it is ready to equip students, teachers, and schools on grounds with preventive measures of COVID-19, as it prepares to open schools from break due to the pandemic. This is a welcome development taking into consideration it will once again engage students, some of whom during the lockdown were idly roaming about in the streets. Even though the ministry urged students to be keenly following lessons on radios and televisions, it is evident a significant percentage didn’t follow these lessons as required.
Meanwhile, the principal reason for the ministry’s reopening of schools is to ensure that transition from one level to the other occurs. This will also allow students to continue with their syllabus especially those who will be writing the grade 9 exams./sitting to the grade 9 exams.
At a recent stakeholders meeting, some of the concerns raised with regards to ensuring social distancing is noted. One concern raised was access to potable water, which is a fundamental aspect for productive, viable, and effective learning. Some schools lack this facility and as a result need to make contingency plans to have reliable running water. Proper ventilation is another concern raised and the use of facemasks.
School vendors are also central in the overall equation. It is also recommended for vendors to at least sit 2 meters away from each other as recommended by WHO and the Ministry.
There should be no room for complacency in the fight against coronavirus. Let’s build on the gains registered thus far and ensure no one dies of it.
Let’s remember that COVID-19 knows no ethnicity, no rank in society, no gender and borders. It is an international pandemic that has infected over one million people and claimed the lives of thousands globally, with the numbers still rising.
However, the greatest challenge now is the potential for complacency, particularly with the fewer active cases in The Gambia. Let’s continue adhering to recommended guidelines such as social distancing and avoid overcrowded places.