On March 16, 2020, the Ministry of Education announced that schools were to close to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
During a Cabinet meeting on April 30, 2020, the Government of Rwanda announced that in a new strategy to combat the spread of Coronavirus, schools would remain closed until September. However, the reopening dates have not been announced yet.
Dr Ngirente, when presenting to Parliament a picture of the Government’s action in the fight against the COVID-19, was asked how the country was preparing for the schools to reopen in September.
“Children are missing out on the learning; one will tell you I miss so and so and when I see them, I will hug them big time,” said MP Ruku Rwabyoma adding:” I am very much concerned with the plan to reopen schools in September when we still have so many COVID-19 cases. Won’t it be exposing our children?”
Rwabyoma was stating the understanding that with 50 children in one class, social distancing won’t even be possible.
MP Frank Habineza also pointed out that the infrastructure that will allow the schools to reopen are not yet ready, saying that the government started a project to build 22,000 new classrooms to prepare the reopening of schools. The schools are not yet ready, he said.
To all the concerns and more, the Prime Minister stated that the government has given itself until mid-August to take the final decision in regard to the school reopening.
“Reopenig schools is crucial; they are little children. We cannot rush the decision to reopen. We shall be really careful about it," said the Prime Minister.
Ngirente said that the decision to reopen will also depend on the readiness of 22,500 new school classrooms under construction across the country.
During the closure of the schools, the Rwanda Education Board (REB) introduced a technology to help children continue to attend classes including Radio and TV programs and content uploaded on websites.