POLICE TO MONITOR SAFETY AND SECURITY OF SCHOOL CHILDREN AS SCHOOL REOPEN

As you are all aware, schools are re-opening this week with the return of students in boarding schools. The day scholars will effectively commence their studies on Monday 10.01.2022. This requires a lot of caution in balancing the educational needs of students along with their health, safety and security, after a period of almost two years.

We want to thank H.E. The President and its Technocrats from the Ministry of Health and Education, for coming up with the required SOPs, to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus, at all school levels ie Kindergarten to University or Tertiary level. We encourage all schools to strictly follow the pubic health guidelines, issued for safe learning, amidst the COVID-19 environment.

At least, our country Uganda, has made significant progress in tackling the spread of the COVID-19 virus, from the first phase to where we are now. The vaccination rates are improving, which will help all eligible persons lower the risk of Ugandans and other citizens in the country, from getting severely sick from COVID-19. However, vaccination is just one part, as health and medical experts, continue to encourage members of the public to keep wearing face masks, physical distancing, wash hand, combined with good ventilation, screening and contact tracing in schools and outside school settings.

Therefore, the success of this school year will depend on the school administrators, education officials, health experts, students, parents and caretakers keeping update with the new and emerging protocols.

Security tips as schools reopen

As students and pupils return to school, we would like to remind parents, carers and teachers about the safety of children. The first term means increased activities in teaching and learning and many other academic preparations. It also means waking up early, to transport the children to school. This brings about congestion on the roads due to rush hours of dropping and picking children.

Listed below are some simple safety tips for parents, guardians and school managers.

• All schools are reminded to review their security emergency preparations, supervision and other school safety fundamentals. This includes the school visitor procedures and how access to school buildings is done in a high priority area.

• We recommend that all children are examined upon their return to school for any signs of child abuse during their holiday.

• When transporting children to school, ensure you walk with them to teach them safe habits around drop zones or in the classrooms. For the boarding schools, establish contacts to monitor the safe arrival and presence of the children at school.

• Children transported on motorcycles are required to wear helmets, since 80% of all head and brain injuries arise out of failure to use helmets.

• Ensure your child knows your mobile number or emergency police numbers 999/112. Learn to set up GPS tracking devices on your child’s mobile phone or other items.

• Avoid use of shortcuts that puts the child in a vulnerable situation.

• Watch out for stalkers on foot, motorcycle or motor vehicles. Seek help immediately in case of any suspicious movements or go to the nearest police.

• Teach your children how to avoid talking to strangers and to never accept lifts from them or someone not approved by their parents. The same applies to any gifts or food from an adult.

• All prohibited items must not be smuggled into schools, both day and boarding. Some of the prohibited items include; smart phones, polythene bags, selected electrical gadgets and other flame base products like candles, lighters, matches which are major fire hazards, drugs, alcohols, cigarettes, energy drinks, glass bottles, unnecessary cash and expensive items and any other items which are deemed illegal to possess or inappropriate for the age of the child or school environment.

• All stakeholders should keep in mind that security is an ongoing process that requires vigilance and situational awareness. In addition, all school administrators are advised to regularly liaise with the territorial police units and update each other on the prevailing security situation.

• We wish all students a happy first term and urge them to report any crime and safety concerns to the school teachers, LC or area police.

Source: Uganda Police Force

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