Respecting safety measures to return to class

After 5 months at home, final year students are finally getting back into school.

Feza Umande (translated from French by Amber Sherman )
Bénédicte suit les cours en classe
UNICEF DRC Umande
28 August 2020

Monday 10 August 2020 – “Today I’m finally going back to school”, says Bénédicte, a sixth-year humanities student at Saint Ignace High School in Kinshasa. The teenager woke up very early so as not to arrive late on the first day of classes, a day she had been waiting for for some time. “I was scared that they would declare the year invalid”, admits Bénédicte, who remained determined to prepare for her exams through distance learning.  

With her face covered and lots of enthusiasm, Bénédicte set off for school, where new measures had been put in place to ensure the safety of students and staff.

School supervisor Freddy Kanynda was posted at the school entrance to take temperatures and check that every student was carrying a mask and washing their hands. “If they don’t respect safety measures, they could contract the virus here at school and contaminate parents, who are already vulnerable due to diabetes and asthma and who could die”, explains Freddy Kanynda.

“Wearing a mask and washing their hands correctly, respecting social distancing even in the classrooms, coughing into an elbow and staying at home if symptoms emerge”, are the measures the supervisor lists.

Une salle de classe avec des élèves respectant la distanciation physique
UNICEF DRC Umande

In order to respect social distancing measures, lessons are only taking place in the school’s largest classrooms. The classrooms, toilets and desks are disinfected and hand-washing stations have been placed at the school entrance and outside each classroom.

Bénédicte is delighted to be returning to school but has not forgotten to respect these safety measures in order to protect herself and others. “Although we’re all going to see each other today, Coronavirus is still circulating so we need to keep our distance and remain vigilant”, she concludes.


UNICEF wishes to express its sincere gratitude to  Gavi, the Global Partnership for Education, the Solidarity Response Fund, the DRC Humanitarian Fund, the United States Agency for International Development, the World Bank GroupUnilever and the Governements of CanadaJapanMalta, the United KingdomGermanySweden and Switzerland for their contributions to the coronavirus response in DRC.