Sierra Leone: Pupils want school reopening deferred

Freetown, Sierra Leone (PANA) - With about two weeks to the planned reopening of schools (on 14 April) in Sierra Leone, pupils in both primary and secondary schools have raised serious concerns over the their safety following Ebola fears.

Schools in Sierra Leone were shut down since July last year following the Ebola outbreak and government had set 30 March as the date for the reopening of schools. But recent spike in Ebola infection may have led to the postponement to 14 April.

Through the umbrella children organization, the Children Forum Network (CFN), the pupils expressed concern that a number of measures which the government promised to put in place before schools are reopened have still not been actualized.

A press release issued by the organization, together with two other affiliate bodies on Tuesday, the Community Concerned Network (CCN) and the African Youths and Children’s Network (AYCN) say the continued recording of new cases of the disease suggests that the chances of transmission of the virus is still high, especially given the largely poor sanitary conditions of schools across the country.

“Opening schools at this time when there are still infection cases in the country might not be the right decision," according to the statement.

They also say large class sizes in many public schools means that a minimum of 40 pupils will sit in class\, thereby making bodily contacts highly likely.

Another concern also raised was the reopening of schools in communities that were still recording infection.

“Children in quarantined communities will be denied a significant part of the curriculum as the quarantine period is up to 21 days," it said.

CFN was established by government in 2000 to serve as a voice of the children. It works closely with government and international development partners.
-0- PANA SBA/VAO 1April2015

01 april 2015 14:22:10

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