Children during Covid-19 in Uganda

Should children be in school or stay at home to stop the spread of Covid-19?

This month’s Inequality Question focused on: “Should children be in school or stay at home to stop the spread of Covid-19?” 

We received 67 responses and the discussion was viewed over 400 times (so far)!

To make sure all the young people we work with were safe, they were in our Drop-In Centre and were all following COVID-19 safety guidelines.

There were some common themes such as safety measures in school, and prioritising the mental wellbeing of young people.

Let’s have a look at some of the comments…

Many people thought that being in school was better for children

  • “I am of the firm belief that it is hugely damaging to a child to be out of school for so long. Yes, there are risks but if they are well managed, as it seems they have been in UK, then they are far outweighed by the risks of damage to a child’s wellbeing and future prospects, as well as to the longer term impact on society and the economy. Online learning can only be successful for so long, then children need interaction and face to face learning and instruction to be able to develop as they should.” – Lorna, Uganda
  • “Children should be in school, that is all, COVID-19 is always there even at our homes. Parents will always go to the public and come back home with COVID whilst children are staying at home, this won’t stop, we have to see our children back to school. The preventive measures are there for them to adopt and practice whilst at school” – Lovelyn, Uganda
  • “I think that wherever possible we should be ensuring that children are in school. However, we can be creative in this and plan for outdoor education for example forest schools where children get the chance to learn skills outside rather than always needing to be in a classroom.” – Nicola, UK

Others thought it was better to reduce the spread of the virus

  • “No they should stay home until the threat of COVID has been controlled as they put the community at risk. But the government should provide them all with learning materials from home” – Steve
  • “No, children should stay at home to help end the spread of COVID-19. This is because at schools some Standard Operating Procedures like sanitising and hand washing or even social distance may not be fully respected. This poses a danger of spreading the virus to several learners. However at home, the SOPs are much easier to affect.” – Isaac, Uganda
  • “Some children have underlying conditions that increase their risk of catching and spreading COVID-19 which while at school may not be given the necessary attention. So they should stay at home where these conditions are given the adequate attention and, in the end, reduce the risk of catching and spreading the coronavirus.” – Job, Uganda

We also had some people who recognised the importance of children attending school, but were unsure if it was safe

  • “For me the answer to this question is both yes and no. It does children no good whatsoever to be at home learning rather than in school in terms of the social and mental wellbeing, but at the same time if virus infection rates are high, then I don’t think there’s any real option than to have them stay at home until things die down.” – Dan, UK
  • I am half and half about this. I would like children to be at school, but only if the COVID levels are low enough. If they return to school when the infection rates are already high then it will increase the spread a lot. Though they don’t get affected as badly when they are young normally then can spread the disease and this can result in others getting sick and dying in the community which is so sad.” – Grace, UK

In conclusion

In this month’s discussion, we have seen many fascinating answers on whether children should return to school or not during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you to everyone who joined in. The children find it so interesting to exchange ideas with people from around the world.

We hope to receive more comments in the discussion next month. Thanks again for sharing your ideas and we look forward to seeing you again.

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