Health

Uganda reopens schools after two years of lockdown

Schools have reopened in Uganda after being closed for nearly two years, ending the world’s longest education disruption due to the Covid pandemic.

State Minister for Higher Education John Muyingo said on Monday that all students would resume their classes a year above where they left off.

“All schools have implemented guidelines and standard operating procedures to ensure the safe return of children to schools, and measures have been put in place to ensure those who don’t comply do so,” Mr Muyingo said.

The schools in Uganda have been fully or partially closed for over 83 weeks, affecting more than 10 million pupils, according to figures from the United Nations.

Uganda first shut down its schools in March 2020, after the first coronavirus case was confirmed in Africa. In February 2021, some classes were reopened to students but a total lockdown was imposed again in June after the country faced its first major surge. Uganda has so far reported 153,762 COVID-19 cases, including 3,339 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The decision to reopen schools in Uganda has been supported and encouraged by the United Kingdom and Ireland. Both countries have partnered with UNICEF to support two key activities which aim to support safe and sustainable reopening of schools.

The United Kingdom provided £450,000 to UNICEF towards the initiative and Ireland provided Euro 1.8 Million to UNICEF for the overall Government of Uganda school reopening programme.

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