EDITORIAL: Schools need to be proactive as they gear up for gradual reopening

Students wash their hands before entering the class at G.S Rugando in Kigali in March . / Sam Ngendahimana

Six months after Covid-19 pandemic forced the Government to suspend schools, the Cabinet decided Friday that learning institutions will soon reopen, albeit gradually.

It directed that a schedule from the Ministry of Education, informed by a readiness assessment, will spell out how the different levels of Rwanda’s education system will return to in-person training. 


The development came at a time the country was witnessing a decline in the number of new coronavirus infections following weeks of sustained surge.


From early on, Rwanda chose to follow guidelines from public health experts, which prevented the virus from spiralling out of control.


But it’s not a black-and-white scenario. The Government has been walking a tightrope between saving lives and protecting livelihoods. This is likely to remain the case, at least in the next couple of months.

Yet we are all in this together; we must all pull in the same direction.

While the Government, through the Ministry of Health and other relevant institutions, will continue to provide the necessary policy framework and guidelines, observance of these measures is for us all.

That’s why schools, especially private ones, must not sit back and simply wait for the Ministry of Education to come up with the next course of action and a detailed roadmap on how schools will be reopening. They should rather be proactive in putting in place measures that will allow for safe reopening and building confidence.

Schools should start engaging parents, authorities and other stakeholders on the best way to ensure a safe and responsible return to in-person training. Students, parents and government need reassurance that your school/jurisdiction has undertaken all the necessary measures to ensure it does not turn out to be the weak link in the war against the deadly virus. 


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