After months of staying indoors, today all primary and secondary schools in Tanzania resume academic sessions following a directive issued by President John Magufuli a fortnight ago.
The decision to reopen all schools has made Tanzania the first country in East Africa to allow resumption of all academic activity and social gatherings following a brief break due to the coronavirus scare.
But with Covid-19 still in their midst, it is vital that all health safety precautions as issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Ministry of health are adhered to.
When higher education institutions reopened at the beginning of June, changes had been put in place on campus environs as steps towards minimising the risk of contracting Covid-19.
At the University of Dar es Salaam's School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC), handwashing stations installed at various places on the campus compound, starting from the main entrance. Everyone who enters the campus is instructed by security guards to first and foremost wear a face mask before being granted entry, then proceed to wash their hands with liquid soap.
A quick glance around the expansive SJMC environs shows just how serious the institution is taking the pandemic.
Now, when it comes to primary and secondary schools, the stakes are much higher since it's harder to constantly monitor minors.
For this reason, the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children is instructing academic institutions that were used as health facilities for Covid-19 patients to decontaminate the structures at least 72 hours before reopening.
It is also advising schools' management to conduct Covid-19 awareness sessions on opening day which will be used to impart important safety measures to students and staff.
Handwashing stations are to be installed in every classroom, library, dormitory, dining hall, toilets, office area and any place used as an entry point.
Students have also been encouraged to frequently wash their hands, both boarding and day scholars, to avoid unnecessary assembly and seek medical attention once symptoms of Covid-19 are detected.
Also, the ministry instructed that all hand sanitizers used must be of required standard, that is, made with at least 70 percent ethanol.
The ministry further advised against the use of spirit (methanol) as a hand sanitizer and issued a stern warning against academic institutions asking students to report to school with spirit as a Covid-19 protective essential.
Report by Mpoki Thomson