Ebola: Govt bans school visitations, leavers’ parties

Photo taken on October 27, 2022, Ebola Sudan doctors inside an isolation center together with suspected patients in Mubende, Uganda. More districts have confirmed outbreaks of the disease as of November 16, 2022. PHOTO/AFP

What you need to know:

  • The Minister of Health, Dr Jane Aceng, last Wednesday announced that six children from three schools in Kampala had tested positive for Ebola.

The Ministry of Education and Sports has banned visitation days and leavers’ parties being organised for candidate classes by schools across the country over the Ebola outbreak.

According to the circular issued by Mr Ismail Mulindwa, the ministry’s acting Permanent Secretary, the ban will last until the end of the current term.

“Given that positive cases have now been confirmed among learners from families of known contacts, it is necessary to strengthen the existing infection prevention measures at schools,” Mr Mulindwa said.

The ban came at a time when most schools across the country were organising parties for their Primary Seven and Senior Six candidates slated to begin their final examinations next month.

A number of parents had already paid the fee required for the leavers’ parties and it is not clear if schools will refund the money or not.

Mr Mulindwa also stressed that learners in the boarding section should be restricted from making non-essential trips out of school.

The Minister of Health, Dr Jane Aceng, last Wednesday announced that six children from three schools in Rubaga Division, Kampala, had tested positive for Ebola and were undergoing treatment at the Entebbe treatment unit.

The children are said to have been infected by their uncle who came from Kassanda District, the epicentre of the disease, and spent a night at their home in Rubaga, before he was taken to Mulago National Referral Hospital for treatment from where he succumbed to Ebola.

In his circular addressed to all heads of schools and district leaders, Mr Mulindwa said on the advice of the Ministry of Health, institutions of learning will remain open despite calls by some stakeholders to have them closed.

But Mr Mulindwa urged schools to strictly implement the standard operating procedures provided by the Health ministry against the disease.

Mr Hasadu Kirabira, the chairperson of National Association of Private Institutions of Learning, supported the suspension of visitation days.

“We encourage heads of schools to work with the ministries of Health and education to ensure that we minimise the spread of Ebola in schools. School tours should also be halted as we monitor and see,” Mr Kirabira said.

However, on leaver’s parties, Mr Kirabira said that they are advising schools to organise internal leavers’ parties without involving people from outside to ensure that the money that has been paid by parents does not go to waste.

The government last month released guidelines all schools were slated to follow to minimise the spread of Ebola.

The guidelines
•  Re-activate the existing school Covid-19 task force teams
•  Promote physical distancing at schools
•   Encourage correct wearing of masks by students and workers
•   Daily screening and referral of sick students, teachers to the district surveillance  teams
•  Provision of space to Ebola suspects to avoid stigma.
•  Avoid crowding at the gates
•  Water washing facilities with soap and water at all times
•  Full time trained personnel assigned to do temperature screening
•  Have  temperature guns at each entry point.
•  Maintain social distancing among learners while on school premises and prevent learners from handshaking and hugging.
•  Schools assemblies are discouraged 
•  Avoid recreation and sports 
•  Disinfect all objects and surfaces in schools
•  Provide security for enforcement and prevention of visitors or strangers in hostels.
•  Stagger meals