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Hon Rwabushaija: Vaccinate children, staff and re-open schools

By Hon Margaret Rwabushaija Namubiru.

In order to re-open institutions of leaning with a reasonable degree of safety against Covid19, Uganda government must first achieve some degree of hard immunity.

Like any other institutions in the country, educational institutions, from elementary schools through universities, across the nation were equally responsible for the spread of COVID-19 cases before their closure. For schools to open safely and stop costing thousands of student lives, a high proportion of their staff including teaching and the non-teaching  staff plus students’ need to be immunized.

Critically, if not enough students or staff is vaccinated,  then it puts the whole community, with whom the members of the school interact and come in contact , in danger.. Schools should mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for students and entire staff to maintain safety protocols like face masks and social distancing to safely re-open schools

With such a high rate of hospitalizations and deaths at the hands of COVID-19 in the schools and a clear failure of hybrid and in-person schooling to mitigate the spread of disease, it is vital to vaccinate a high percentage.

Students and staff at schools  need immunity to stop spread of covid-19 and protect members of the communities.

But waiting to reopen schools until the school’s community is vaccinated is the safest option, there is a myriad of drawbacks to remaining in a virtual learning format.

Teachers also cannot spend as much one-on-one time working with students to clarify questions and ensure they understand concepts. Further, physical activity is limited with the cancellation of physical education classes

Though isolation has negative mental, emotional and social impacts on students, it is a necessary trade-off. It is unsafe to fully return to in-person school until the majority of the student body and staff is vaccinated, creating protective herd immunity.

Vaccines are meant to strengthen the immune system of people by training it to identify the covid-19 virus and fight against it. By getting vaccinated against covid-19, you can protect yourself as well as society.

The virus of covid-19 spreads swiftly from individual to individual across the nation. So, if someone falls ill, he or she could transmit the virus to family, friends, and other people.

As we know that coronavirus affects everyone differently, therefore, even if someone has a mild or asymptomatic infection of covid-19, it can be transferred to others who can develop mild to serious symptoms. Hence it is highly recommended that everyone should get vaccinated to avoid the spread of the coronavirus and guarantee the safety of people in your family or around you.

Meanwhile you are reminded that to combat the coronavirus spread, wearing masks and social distancing are considered being the biggest arms all over the world.

These measures lower the possibility of getting exposed to the covid-19 virus, which ultimately ceases its further spread. Therefore, vaccines are the best way out to cope with the situation as it improves your immune system■

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