Schools in Ghana officially reopened last Friday (January 15) as per a presidential directive early this year. As of yesterday, January 18; most schools have resumed across the country as students and pupils return to school after over 9 months.
Closure of schools was part of government efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 when the index case was registered in March 2020.
Subsequently, some category of students – junior and senior high school – were allowed to return to complete terminal exams. The current reopening allows children across most lower levels to report back to school.
Also in the sub-region, Nigeria despite its rising cases has also reopened schools effective today. There is an ongoing debate over the propriety of reopening with the current context – both in Ghana and Nigeria.
In this article, We looks at other African countries that have opted to close their schools due to rising virus cases.
South Africa is Africa’s most impacted nation with over 1.3 million cases and 37,000 deaths as of January 18. The basic education department last Friday announced a two-week postponement of reopening.
“Given the pressure experienced by the health system in the past few weeks, occasioned by increased Covid-19 infections which has led to the second wave, the council of education ministers in conjunction with the national coronavirus command council and cabinet has taken the decision to delay the reopening of both public and private schools by two weeks,” deputy basic education minister Reginah Mhaule told a media briefing.
“This includes private schools… They will need to postpone their reopening to a later date. This is done to provide relief to the health system which is already struggling to cope with the current demands.” The new reopening date for learners is February 15.
Authorities in the East African country announced the closure of nursery, primary and secondary schools in the capital, Kigali. Reason being the rising cases of coronavirus. Rwanda has over 11,000 cases and 142 deaths as of January 18.
Whereas schools have reopened in Ghana and Nigeria as of today, affected children in Kigali will not be attending school from today.
According to Education Minister Valentine Uwamariya, educational facilities in other provinces could be closed depending on the spread of the virus there.
Rwanda was among the African countries that reopened schools last year. Learners returned to class in November after eight months away.
The government has ordered public hospitals to treat Covid-19 patients with their widely used community-based health insurance, the BBC reports. Also in East Africa, Kenya recently and Ethiopia last year reopened schools.
The southern African country has over 12,400 cases and 314 deaths as of January 18. As part of new measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, schools have been closed for 15 days starting today according to authorities.
President Lazarus Chakwera made the order in an address during which he also announced a night-time curfew from 21:00 local time. Restrictions have been placed on gatherings again – only up to 50 people can hold a gathering.
Two senior cabinet members died last week from the virus with the president admitting that he had been guilty of flouting health protocols. The country is currently mourning the deceased ministers.
A third of Malawi’s 300 Coronavirus deaths have taken place this month. The president said the government was allocating a further $2m to provide healthcare staff and equipment, a BBC report added.