By FAWE Sierra Leone team
The Ministry of Education, Sierra Leone, announced the reopening of schools for the 2020/2021 academic year in October 2020 and published guidelines developed in collaboration with education stakeholders including the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS).
In response to the announcement of school reopening, and in recognition of the widespread impact of COVID 19 outbreak, FAWE-WASH in schools project team distributed facemasks to 9,000 school going children across 40 target schools to ensure they compile with the ministry of education guidelines that include but not limited to;
- All children in primary and secondary schools are required to wear face coverings (masks).
- Children with known medical conditions must indicate this to school administration for exemption and other precautionary measures.
- All food vendors in school compounds must wear face coverings and are subjected to temperature checks.
- Hand washing stations should be available where food is sold.
- All students, staff and visitors should wash their hands (or use alcohol-based sanitizers where available) when entering school buses and compounds. Hand washing stations have been provided to all schools in Sierra Leone.
Wearing a mask at school is essential in mitigating the risk of spreading the corona virus, but most parents can’t afford the cost to secure one for their children. For those that do, they encounter an access challenge as there is no ready market to purchase in the villages. Children, teachers and school administrators are therefore often spotted going to school without wearing a face mask.