Primary students in Namibia return to school after COVID-19 shutdowns

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KWAZULU-NATAL, SOUTH AFRICA - 2018/11/12: Children at the Nkomo Primary School in Mnqobokazi, South Africa. The school is sponsored by the Africa Foundation, a non profit organization funded by South African luxury tourism group and hotel management company andBeyond, who divert profits from safari lodges to support community development projects in Africa. (Photo by Leisa Tyler/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Primary schools in Namibia are reopening after COVID-19 shutdowns. (UNESCO)

Primary schools in Namibia reopened under strict health guidelines on Tuesday after COVID-19 shutdowns with students wearing masks and conducting social distancing.

More than 300,000 learners from pre-primary schools to grade three returned to school on Tuesday, said Absalom Absalom, public relations officer in the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture.

Absalom said that schools reopened for formal teaching for the lower primary phase across the country except for the Erongo region.

The ministry has provided strict health guidelines for schools, including reducing the number of students in class, observing social distancing and offering protective equipment, Absalom said.

“The ministry allocated 29.8 million Namibian dollars (1.7 million U.S. dollars) towards the purchasing of protective equipment,” he added.

In the capital Windhoek, teachers have disinfected Havana Primary School ahead of class resumption, school principal Andreas Katangolo said Tuesday.

“The school has also set up tippy taps to promote handwashing and general hygiene. Teachers and staff also check the temperature of learners.” Katangolo added.

At Van Ryn Primary School, informative and graphic posters written in a child-friendly language were placed at various spots on the school premises. All staff members and students at the Windhoek-based school also wore masks in adherence to safety and health measures.

So far, Namibia has recorded 539 coronavirus cases with 25 recoveries.

The Namibian government closed schools in March after it declared a state of emergency and carried out subsequent restrictions.

Namibian President Hage Geingob announced restrictions on travel and suspended the resumption of schools in the Erongo region amid rising cases of COVID-19.

Face-to-face classes for students of grades 11 and 12 resumed on June 3.

The government has eased lockdown restrictions in stage four, greenlighted the reopening of the country, including the education and economic sectors.

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