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The third term will close earlier as one of the means to prevent the likely spread of Ebola in schools, the Ministry of Education and Sports has finally confirmed. Dr. Joyce Moriku Kaducu, the Minister in charge of basic education, says that the school term has been reduced by two weeks as one of the means to decongest schools, which their health counterparts say is likely to increase the vulnerability of children to Ebola disease.

Dr. Kaducu explained that after evaluating experts’ views, it was noted that closing the schools earlier will reduce areas of concentration where children are in close contact daily. Children are said to be at high risk of contracting Ebola since they require daily contact with their peers and caregivers. According to the World Health Organisation, when contracted, children are at higher risk of dying from Ebola compared to adults.

Available statistics show that 23 children have contracted Ebola since the outbreak was first confirmed in Uganda. Eight of these have died, 5 have fully recovered and 16 are still under isolation. The first cases among school-going children were confirmed in Kampala when 6 children from three different schools in Lubaga tested positive. One of the children succumbed to Ebola and 170 contacts were identified.

Cases have been identified in five schools in Kampala, Wakiso, and Mubende districts. The announcement by the Ministry of Education means that the term, which had earlier been scheduled to end on December 9 will close for the third term holidays on Friday, November 25. With the new closing date, the minister also noted that schools are required to immediately prepare for promotional and end-of-year assessments effective next week.

Ismael Mulindwa, the Director of Basic Education in the Ministry of Education, says that although the term has been cut short, learners will not be affected.


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