Liberia: MoE Outlines Plans for the Reopening of Schools for 12th Graders

The Ministry of Education (MoE) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the National Public Health Institute (NPHIL) has completed comprehensive guidelines for safe school measures, and the activity timeline for the reopening of schools across Liberia.

It follows a consensus by West African Examination Council (WAEC) member countries and President George M. Weah. The President on June 5, 2020, mandated the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health to put in all mechanisms by June 22, to ensure that the 12 graders resume classes to adequately prepare them for the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations.

Speaking at a press conference held in Monrovia on June 19, 2020, Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Education, Alexander Duopo disclosed that predicated upon the presidential mandate and in close consultation with stakeholders, only 12 graders from senior high schools are allowed back to school to prepare for the upcoming WASSCE.

Minister Duopo told Journalists that the West African Examinations Council member countries are in final deliberations on the matter, and thereafer, WAEC Liberia shall announce the exact date for the start of the examinations.

He said that the tentative period for commencement of WASSCE administration is stated as mid-August 2020. "The week of June 22 to 26, 2020, will serve as an orientation and preparation period that allow the appropriate health authorities and school administrations to finally set up the safe school requirements, as well as train the teachers, support staff, and students on safety measures."

He noted that following the orientation, the instructional period or classes will commence on June 29, 2020. He also confirmed that all schools shall operate using the regular school hours to complete the prescribed academic activities for 12th graders.

Minister Duopo also encouraged all schools should develop a one-shift schedule, to accommodate all students (Morning, Afternoon, and Night shifts) at the same time using multiple classrooms of a minimum number of students in adherence to physical distancing.

He indicated that in line with keeping students and school administrators, teachers and support staff safe, he clarified that the MoE in collaboration with the MoH, the NPHIL and partners have completed guidelines for safe school environments during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Liberia and requires that all schools have necessary safety materials in place.

He furthered, "MOE also reminds all that the Coronavirus pandemic is still a crisis and cautions the public to follow the health guidelines and safety protocols provided by the health authorities."

The Ministry also encourages all to perform voluntary testing or in the case whereby one feels any symptoms of COVID-19.

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