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Social Distancing Forcing Schools To Reduce Learning Time

A section of school administrators in Jinja district have resolved to increase the time allocated to learners during both break and lunchtime to promote social distancing at the different eating points.

They argue that learners normally crowd themselves during mealtime and the only way to encourage social distancing, is through sacrificing more time for such activities. The administrators noted that children’s brains are active, with a lot of interest in playing, and mingling amongst themselves without adhering to the recommended COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures.

They added that adjusting refreshment time enables spacing since meals are served to the pupils based on their respective classes, unlike before when all learners would line up for meals at ago.

Harriet Gandhi, the headteacher of Victoria Nile Primary School says that they have an enrollment of 2,000 pupils, with 30 streams and with this population, they realised that releasing pupils in small groups is the only way to promote social distancing even though it is time-consuming and reduces learning time.

Sylvia Namusobya, a teacher at St. Gonzaga Primary School says that it is hard to compel students into spacing themselves while lining up for meals, but if time is adjusted, fewer pupils are cleared to access the eating points with an aim of minimizing congestion. She asked the Ministry of Education should devise means of providing tents to shelter pupils in highly populated schools.

Richard Tusubira, a teacher at Busedde Seed Secondary School says that they have adjusted their lunchtime by one hour, to enable the students to access meals in a physical distanced manner, free from crowding, which would result in the spread of COVID-19 in case of an outbreak.

Williams Ongom, the deputy headteacher of Jinja SSS says that they have so far received 3,000 students who have been oriented on the importance of observing Standard Operating Procedures and they plan to set up more eating points because teachers lose learning time while rallying learners to observe physical distancing at mealtime.

Amiina Mutesi, the Jinja City’s Principal Education Officer says that they are conducting training sessions aimed at skilling teachers on proper adherence to SOPs without distracting other planned school activities, which comprise daily lessons, reporting and departure time, among others.

Meanwhile, Kiira Region’s Police Spokesperson James Mubi says that police is currently employing interactive policing measures with an aim of reawakening school heads and governing bodies on their pivotal role in controlling the spread of covid19 in schools, alongside fighting criminal tendencies among learners most of whom are trying to adapt to the study environment, following the two-year school ban.


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