Rwandan students have met at school in an environment of restrictions and carefulness after seven months since schools were closed to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
First batch reported to their respective schools in Southern, Western Province and City of Kigali and from home to school, they have to keep physical distancing constantly sanitize their hands and wear face masks to prevent the pandemic which is stilla threat in the country and worldwide.
Not even the usual affectionate hug between classmates will be allowed.
On the first day of reporting at school, students were guided by a standby team of Covid-19 prevention youth volunteers, security organs and teachers dispatched at school gates and areas of boarding buses(stadium).
In some schools, students, all in uniform, were escorted by parents.
Once at school, the environment is welcoming, but, some requirements keep reminding that their new home wants them to remain safe.
For example, they have to get tested temperature as it is the case at any public venue in Rwanda during this pandemic.
To avoid their grouping after this exercise, they are compelled to lift their bags one after the other as they head to their dormitories which have been desinfcted to assure safety.
Schools did not borrow volunteers; teachers are handling the reopening tasks.
“We are busy welcoming students; it is a busy day to us. All the Covid-19 prevention measures have been respected and requirements put in place. We are ready to kick-off with the second term,” Sister Eugenia Kairaba, headmistress of Fawe Girls School in Kigali said.
At this school located in Gasabo district, Kiyinya Sector, three checking points have been mounted including the Covid-19 checking point conducted by youth volunteers at the gate, school requirements checking point, and luggage checking point conducted by teachers.
“We have been checking students since morning, but luckily their temperatures are normal. Other gates have been closed for everybody to be checked. This is the duty we are here for,” one of the Covid-19 youth volunteers who declined to reveal his names said.
Today, According to the ‘back to school’ transport schedule for boarding students, students from Muhanga, Huye, Gisagara, Southern province districts, Karongi and Rutsiro, western province districts and Nyarugenge, Kicukiro and Gasabo in Kigali city started the journey to their respective schools.
They will be followed by boarding students from Nyamagabe, Nyaruguru, Southern province, Rusizi and Nyamasheke districts in the Western Province on 30th October 2020.
“I may not expect that good academic performance from my daughter in the second term; the reality is online learning was not done regularly at home. But the most important thing I have advised her is keeping herself safe by following all the Covid-19 guidelines including wearing face masks and washing hands regularly,” Gerald Ngabo, a parent said.
“My daughter was first scared; she fears to be infected with COVID-19 but I comforted her and told her that she will be safe since she is into the safe hands of teachers.”
Students said they now understand the logic of having a teacher in front of them compared to online learning which has been encouraged through the 7 months holiday.
“I have been learning online, but it is not as good as physical learning because sometimes there is a need for a teacher where you don’t seem to understand subjects. I am happy that we are going to resume studies,” Noel Mukunzi, a student said.
However, Mukunzi is aware that safety is paramount.
Mukunzi said: “Safety comes first and I hope everybody knows about Covid-19, we will not take it for granted, we must keep safe and keep others safe too.”
School directors believe that students have got important awareness I regard to prevention of COVID-19.