Covid-19 In Africa: Namibia mulls options for reopening schools
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Rustenburg - Namibia is considering options to restart the school year, local media reported.
According to the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), Minister of Information, Communication and Technology Dr Peya Mushelenga said cabinet had noted of the Ministry of Education's submission of options to restart the school year.
One of the options was to follow a quarterly system and open on August 3 for face-to-face teaching and learning for learners and teachers. Under this option, school will end on May 28, 2021, for the learners.
An alternative option would be to resume on June 3, following a phased-in approach and closing on December 18 for the academic year. This way the academic year would still be concluded in 2020.
The broadcaster reported that cabinet endorsed the resumption of face-to-face teaching and learning and authorised the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture to adapt and adopt the academic calendar options.
State-owned daily newspaper New Era reported that cabinet prefers the option whereby schools will be allowed to follow a quarterly system because it allows for ample time to prepare school facilities for the implementation of online learning modes and enables schools to adhere to Covid-19 regulations when classes resume.
According to the daily, the government has devised a four-stage response plan aimed at easing the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown, which has been in place since April 18.
Namibia is currently in stage 1 of the national lockdown, during which only certain activities are allowed as per the state of emergency regulations. The country moves to stage 2 on Tuesday.
President Hage Geingob announced last week that the lockdown would be eased on May 5 for the reopening economic activity, and entering stage 2 for 28 days until June 1.
During stage 2 of the lockdown people will be allowed to travel between regions without permits and businesses will resume activity. However, the sale of alcohol will remain prohibited.
Under stage 2 lockdown, people older than 60 years and those with special health conditions will not be allowed at work, but will be encouraged to work from home for a few weeks. Public gatherings will be restricted to a maximum of 10 people.
Stage 3 will see a gradual reopening of borders to selected countries in the region, while restaurants, bars and hotels will be allowed to reopen under strict physical-distancing guidelines.
Secondary schools and universities will be allowed to resume face-to-face classes, while public gatherings will be restricted to 20 people.
Borders will reopen to international travel in stage 4.
Namibia has recorded 16 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with eight recoveries.
The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 was first recorded in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province, in December 2019 and rapidly spread to the rest of the world.
To date there are more than 3.5 million confirmed cases worldwide, with nearly 250,000 deaths and more than 1.1 million recoveries.