Parents have made mixed reactions over the government decision to temporarily close schools in order to stop more spread of COVID-19.
On Sunday the Ministry of Education announced that all day schools in Kigali, from nursery to secondary will close doors for at least two weeks amid growing cases of Covid-19.
Effective Monday, some children remained at home, others were idle in community settlements, while others were seen going for shopping and helping out parents in community market places.
For some parents, this lack of monitoring on children raised fears of their children being directly exposed to the Covid-19 which has since December 2020 increased by double in numbers of infections and deaths.
“It is in the markets, transport and other business activities that we see more cases of Covid-19. This means that if our children are out of school, they will be prone to catching the virus,” one parent Lucy Uwase said.
Uwase advised that if government is to wait for two weeks to decide on the next fate of schools, then it should put in double efforts in curbing the pandemic as it may end up getting out of hand.
“We want more policing and prevention measures in other areas where cases have been reported, otherwise we may end up with more cases contrary to the initial objective of prevention,” Uwase said.
Before the Sunday announcement, many parents said they had spent the week preparing children for school and had paid schools fees for school year beginners but were shocked over the change in plans.
Some parents however welcomed government’s decision to halt school activities in Kigali city and said that the same should also be done for schools in the.
“We would rather the whole school year is suspended for the sake of safety of our children, until we are sure this virus is contained, otherwise health comes first and so we are ready to wait as long as it takes,” said one Juma Karim a parent in Nyarugenge sector.
While some parents welcomed government decision to pause the school activities for a fortnight some said that they will be put under Covid-19 pressure to double incomes so as to sustain their families.
“I had spent all the savings on paying fees and materials for my children returning to school. This means that my incomes will be affected since I have limited clients in a day,” said one Aline Mukansanga a tailor in Kimisagara market.
Though the ministry of education said in the Sunday announcement that the affected children will continue to study using tech-aided learning, some children and parents said that accessing tech gadgets and internet remains a major impediment that should be considered if the pandemic stays longer.
The ministry of education said in its announcement that the new guidelines will be reviewed in two weeks upon health assessment, and this period could also be extended if Covid-19 numbers persistently increase.
On Sunday January 17, 2021, Rwanda registered 182 new cases, with Kigali accounting for 139 of them, bringing the total to 11,032 cases, with two new deaths registered, taking total deaths to 142 as the total active cases stood at 3,527.