Ebola crisis: schools in Guinea begin to reopen for classes
Education in emergencies
Many schools in Guinea have begun to reopen after being closed for months by the Ebola crisis that has swamped parts of West Africa.
But many parents were reported to be too afraid of the risk of infection to send their children back to classes yesterday. And in Guinea’s capital Conakry, those students who did turn up had their temperatures checked at the entrance to their schools.
The reopening of schools happened as the United Nations Special Envoy on Ebola said the outbreak which has claimed more than 8400 lives in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone appears to be slowing down.
Dr David Nabarro said: “The change in behaviour that we’ve been hoping for, working for, anticipating, is now happening everywhere.” But he warned the fight to contain the virus is not over, despite the Liberian government saying it could be free of Ebola by the end of this month.
Guinea’s weekly confirmed cases of Ebola has fallen to its lowest point since August, the UN said last week. The worst Ebola outbreak on record infected about 21,200 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea since it was detected in March, according to the World Health Organization.
Education has been disrupted across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. It was feared that unless schools reopen soon, millions of children are at risk of dropping out of school permanently, of becoming pregnant or ending up in child labour.
The report – titled Ebola Emergency: Restoring Education, Creating Safe Schools and Preventing a Long-term crisis – recommended urgent steps needed to be taken by governments and the international community to get those millions of children back into school and learning.