Schoolchildren have resumed learning eight months after schools were shutdown to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in Sierra Leone.
Classrooms have been empty since the government announced a state of emergency in July last year in response to an outbreak which has killed around 10,500 people from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
According to the World health Organisation, 3,800 died from Ebola in Sierra Leone.
The government hopes that the studying time lost by the country’s 1.8 million children can still be made up.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) says that the reopening of Sierra Leone’s schools marks a major step in the normalisation of life in one of the worst hit countries by Ebola in West Africa.
Other countries that were mostly affected with Ebola were Guinea and Liberia.
“It is important that all children get into school including those who were out of school before the Ebola outbreak. Education for all is a key part of the recovery process for the country,” said Roeland Monasch, Sierra Leone representative for UNICEF.
The schools were due to be opened on 30th of March as infections slowed down but the date was pushed back to April after a report on new cases most around the capital in Freetown.
UNICEF said it was working with the government to ensure children were safe by training 9,000 teachers on Ebola prevention, including hand-washing and regular temperature checks.