Well, guys, today is the day. After over three months’ hiatus due to COVID-19 closures, schools in Tanzania are back in session as of Monday, June 29th.
As I’ve intimated in various other formats, mostly on social media and in conversation, I have no idea if this is the right move or not. One thing we have learned about the novel coronavirus since we were first introduced to it late last year is that we really don’t know anything about it, and so we are fairly at its mercy.
However, as hard hit as first East Asia, then Europe, and now the United States has been, Africa has, for most intents and purposes, been spared.
Yes, I know that we have not gotten a lot of communication or clarity from the Tanzanian government and that that may account for some of the lack of overt “crisis” in Tz, but even taking this idea into consideration, it’s clear the virus has not ripped through the East African nation – nor the continent at large – the way we first expected. Thank God.
In addition, since Tanzania did not ascribe to many of the measures of mitigation other than school closures (social distancing; quarantine; shuttering of businesses, places of worship, markets, and public transportation), I rather feel why not send the kids back to school and let them learn? There is clearly no benefit to any child being at home or idle for three months at a time with no contingency plan in place.
So, this is where we at Toa now find ourselves: back in school and back at work.
In order to prepare our staff as much as possible for reopening, we have held (and will continue to hold) COVID-19 informational meetings during which staff will hear from local medical experts and have a chance to ask any questions they might have. They can then share the broad strokes of what they’ve learned with their students, which include basic tenets of good hygiene, health, and sanitation. And, we have invested in plenty of PPE (personal protective equipment) so that each teacher has access to masks and each Toa participating school site has hand-washing stations.
Check out some of the images from the last few days as we’ve prepared for today – the day that school’s finally, FINALLY back in session.