COVID-19: Some Universities and colleges allowed to resume classes

By Nicole Kamanzi M.
On 4 October 2020 at 08:13

Dr. Valentine Uwamariya, the Minister of Education said that education institutions are to reopen, but with continued restrictions. “Although the decision to reopen educational institutions was made on 25th September, the work to prepare for this reopening began much earlier than that” the minister of education said.

Dr. Uwamariya said this on Friday October 2, in a press conference with the key ministries, including the Minister of Health, Dr. Daniel Ngamije, Minister of Local Government, Professor Anastase Shyaka, Minister of Education, Minister of Trade and Industry, Soraya Hakuziyaremye, and the spokesperson for the Rwanda National Police, Commissioner of Police Jean Bosco Kabera.

Accoeding to the Minister of Education, the work to be done by these universities included extending classrooms to allow for the stipulated distances between pupils, or students, providing hand washing facilities, and generally raising the standard of hygiene.

First to reopen this month will be Universities and secondary schools, although not all Universities and secondary schools will open. Permission to open is dependent on the extent to which an institution is able, or has been able to provide online lessons, and guarantee that students will have the necessary facilities to observe preventive measures.

As well as hand washing areas, the institutions to open have been able to demonstrate that they have the space to keep the stipulated two metres between one student and another.

So far, six Universities, among them University of Global Health Equity (UGHE), African Leadership University (ALU), African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), have been given clearance to open for students on campus, but also to continue online classes.

Five more Universities, including the University of Rwanda, Mountain Kenya University and Rwanda Polytechnic will be allowed to open but only for students in their last years, third, fourth and fifth years.

This will allow these students to graduate, clearing space for others who come after them. All these institutions will be required to accommodate students at university campuses.

The minister assured universities that were not given the green light to open that their institutions will continue to be evaluated, and allowed to open, as soon they fulfill the criteria for reopening.

For secondary schools other those which follow a foreign curriculum, and study largely online, the plan is to reopen in November. Those that follow a foreign curriculum may open sooner, because much of their teaching was online anyway.

For all institutions, holidays and term times will now be determined not on the basis of the normal education calendar, but on the basis of what is required to protect that population and others, from Covid-19 infection.

As with Universities, priority for secondary schools will be given to pupils in their last years, so that as they graduate, they leave space for younger students. Schools will also be encouraged to prioritize the core subjects.

The incremental normalization of people’s lives largely depends on people’s adherence to preventive measures.