Janet Kataha Museveni, the minister of education for Uganda, announced on Tuesday that the government would cut the length of the school year by two weeks in an effort to limit everyday contact between pupils and slow the spread of the Ebola virus.
Since the pandemic spread to Kampala, Uganda’s capital and home to some two million people, authorities have been battling to keep the deadly and highly contagious haemorrhagic fever under control.
According to the health ministry, the nation has 135 confirmed cases overall as of Monday, along with 53 fatalities.
The minister said the cabinet had taken a decision to close pre-schools, primary schools, and secondary schools on November 25, because densely packed classrooms made students highly vulnerable to infection.
“Closing schools earlier will reduce areas of concentration where children are in daily close contact with fellow children, teachers, and other staff who could potentially spread the virus,” Museveni said in a statement.
Students in Uganda are currently in their third and final term for the calendar year, at the end of which they sit promotional exams
Among children, 23 cases have been confirmed, of which eight have died, said Museveni, who is also the president’s wife.
The virus circulating in Uganda is the Sudan strain of Ebola, for which there is no proven vaccine, unlike the more common Zaire strain that spread during recent outbreaks in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ebola generally kills about half of the people it infects.
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