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By Olimatou Coker

Last Friday, the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) held a bantaba on the impact of reopening schools for the grade nines and plans that are put in place for the grade twelves.

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Regional Director One, Alagie Ousman Bah, said all measures have been in place and every school has been fumigated and effective teaching and learning have started from the outset.

He said the challenges they are facing are some of the students do not put on their face masks for a long time.
“We talk with the teachers to make sure they put it on because they are protecting themselves and their colleagues,” he said.

Alternate break period has also been observing for students and there will not be more than twenty-five students in class and there are permanent seats for each child, he added.
A representative of the principals, Kurah Njie, the principal of Latrikunda Upper Basic School, who has a population of 2027 children shared her experience and said that her school is safe because all protocols are being observed which are recommended by the WHO, Health Ministry, and MoBSE.

She added that even vendors in the school wear face masks right at the school gate and their temperatures are checked likewise the students and the staff of the school.
On behalf of the parents, Bakary Kanyi said that parents have visited the schools to be assured of all the preventive measures have been put in place for the safety of their children.

He said parents must also make sure when their children close from school, they wash their hands.
Ba Samba Baldeh from WAEC said the reopening of schools was necessary because if the closure had been longer, it would have resulted in the loss of the academic year.
He said since the examinations are the culminating activity for the academic year the Banjul office (WAEC) is ready for the successful conduct of the 2020 series of examinations beginning with grade nines and subsequently the WASSE for school candidates followed by the private candidates.

He said that the council is still on the process to finalize the timetable for WASSE because it involves five-member countries. He assured that the WASSE is going to take place in the second half of August 2020.
The grade nines are to start exams on July 20th.

Momodou Njie from the Ministry of Health said his ministry is tireless on the fight against COVID-19. “We have visited schools to make sure all the preventive measures are put in place because COVID-19 is everyone’s business,” he said.
He encouraged the parents to help their school children to be washing their face masks especially those locally made.

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