Schools Reopening: Cabinet Decision to Ease ‘Back To school’ Transport Challenges

University Students boarding a bus in May this year.

The decision by a Cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame on Monday, October 12, to increase the number of people in public busses is expected to ease challenges of access to public transport which were expected ahead of the reopening of schools and education institutions next month.

Schools are set to reopen on November 2, beginning with upper and candidate classes as well as final year university students. Prior to the cabinet decision, the Minister of Education, Dr. Valentine Uwamariya, had expressed concerns ahead of the reopening of schools that there will be transport challenges.

However, according to the cabinet decision, from Thursday, October 15, 2020 public transportation will continue operating at full capacity for seated passengers, and 50% for standing passengers in public buses, a development which comes as a relief.

Minister Uwamariya had expressed worry about transporting boarding students from bus parks to schools when schools reopen officially.

Dr. Uwamariya had last week said that transporting students would take about 10 days than the usual two days because of the reduced number of passengers in each public transport car to respect physical distancing and prevent further spread of the New Coronavirus.

Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) is set to issue new directives which must be abided with by public transporters

(RURA) would like to inform the general public that, as per Cabinet Communiqué dated 12th October 2020, regarding public transport services, the guidelines will take effect from Thursday, 15th October 2020 after the review of fares and COVID-19 preventive measures,” RURA said on Twitter on Tuesday.

Public transport adjustments were made by the cabinet meeting ahead of the reopening of schools and education institutions. It had been expected that COVID-19 restrictions would complicate student transportation, which still faced challenges even before the outbreak of the pandemic.

Schools will reopen with social distancing and health precautions.

According to the Ministry of Education, schools and tertiary institutions will be reopened gradually following a series of health assessments carried out by the Ministries of Health and Education.

“The most important thing is transporting students safely, after reaching the school committee will be appointed in every school to conduct several COVID-19 medical check-ups to make sure that student’s good health is guaranteed.” Dr. Uwamariya said.

MINEDUC on Tuesday issued the academic year calendar for 2020/21, which will see students return to school to pick it up from where they left in March this year where all schools and education institutions were closed in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Studies will be fast tracked to allow students to make up for lost time and catch up on the syllabus. However, lower primary and pre-school will have to wait a little longer to know their fate.

 




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