student waiting for a taxi (courtesy photo)

The Ministry of Education and Sports has revealed that learners and teachers will not be allowed to use public transport; taxis and boda-bodas when schools re-open for finalists on October 15.

At a time when the country is seeing an increase in the number of positive cases daily, the authorities note that public transport poses a greater risk of spreading the virus and have decided to regulate it as part of the guidelines.

“Learners who walk to school or are transported by private means to schools may continue to do so, however, they may not use public transport on any occasion, even when they cannot walk or be privately transported to and from school by their parents/guardians,” the guidelines read in parts.

Schools have been advised to dedicate school vans on designated routes of learners and to transport teachers who are not accommodated at school.

“The schools, working with urban authorities, shall organize dedicated vans or buses on designated routes to transport learners, including learners with special needs, who cannot walk or be transported privately to school. Such transport should be within a radius of 5kms and shall observe the standard operating procedures for public transport,” the guidelines add.

The ministry insists that parents should as much as possible identify schools nearest to their homes to enroll their children in the meantime to avoid risks, unnecessary costs and inconveniences of long-distance travel to schools.

“The Ministry of Education also wants the Ministry of Health to test all teachers in areas with high numbers of #Covid-19 cases like Kampala before schools are reopened,” Alex Kakooza, the permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Education revealed while addressing the media on the new timetable and standard operating procedures for schools.

Education institutions will ensure that all members of the school community observe recommended social distancing of at least two metres in the classroom, effective and frequent hand washing and proper use of facial masks that must be worn at all times. Each learner should have a minimum of two face masks.

Other requirements include restriction of members of the public from accessing the schools, provision of adequate security and safety measures, setting up a #Covid-19 committee and guiding and counselling learners against #Covid-19 related stigmatization.