On Monday schools in South Sudan reopened after closure for more than one year due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that ravaged the country and caused fatalities.
Hussein Abdelbagi Akol, the Vice President in charge of Service Cluster, said the decision came in the wake of the recent drop in COVID-19 infections since March.
“COVID-19 is still with us, but we have decided to reopen schools and will strictly follow COVID-19 preventative measures in the schools,” Akol told journalists in Juba during the official reopening for learners. He, however, noted that schools would only operate at half capacity as preventive measures against COVID-19.
Awut Deng Acuil, Minister of General Education and Instruction, urged parents and guardians to enroll their children, including pregnant and breast-feeding girls, adding that the government was doing everything in its power to ensure that schools reopened safely.
She revealed that the reopening of schools came after the Girls’ Education South Sudan (GESS), an education programme, and the Global Partnership for Education, a partnership and funding platform that aims to strengthen education systems in developing countries, provided funds to enable distribution of water sanitation and hygiene supplies, thermometers, reusable masks, and menstrual hygiene management kits.
The South Sudan government in partnership with GESS will pay capitation grants, in addition to cash transfers, to girls at levels from primary 5 to senior 4, she disclosed. The schools were shut down in March 2020 and the government reopened schools in phases with final year students allowed to attend classes in October 2020.