Since 2nd November ,2020, the Rwandan government has allowed schools to resume their activities after more than 7 months of interruption due to the health situation due to Covid-19 that the world is currently experiencing. It is perhaps too early to make any assessment, we just want to point out a few observations, one week after the start of the school year in IFAK Don Bosco.
Only students from S3, S5 and S6 were allowed to start classes on 2nd November. It was an experimental re-entry in the sense that its success would allow the return of students from other levels, namely those of S1, S2 and S4 secondary.
80 in number, boarding students showed up on November 1, accompanied by their parents. The health barrier measures established to contain the spread of COVID 19 by the Ministry of Health were scrupulously observed: compulsory wearing of masks, regular hand washing with soap, greeting without shaking hands, avoiding hugs, observing “social distancing”, ie a distance of 1 meter between people, temperature measurement at the entrance to the school. It was already necessary to quadruple the number of support staff in order to cover all the services required. But young people, you know, are what they are: although the instructions are clear, some had difficulty respecting the distance of 1 meter (you have to understand them: after 7 months of separation from their friends, for them it was imperative to chat a little among them). On Monday, November 2, the day students, 122 in total, showed up, ready to face this special continuation of the school year. With students, teachers and support staff a number of 250 was reached on this first day. Getting to respect all hygiene measures for such a workforce is not easy.
Many wonders: what state of mind did we find in the students, 7 months without coming to school? Well, I must admit, the students we hosted on November 2 were already tired of staying at home; this was noticed by the silence they kept during that first week. I found myself in front of young people eager to study, diligent and open to teaching and education. Although the fear of illness still hangs over everyone, the thirst for learning seems to prevail. “We must learn to live with the coronavirus”, said on television Professor Didier Raoult (French specialist in infectious diseases); at IFAK, we try to live with it, learn with it, and stay healthy despite the presence of this virus in our air.
This first week was a success, which makes us think that in the near future, the rest of our students will also return to school and thus end these forced holidays, dictated by the Covid-19.