Safe return to school in Red Sea state amid COVID-19

How children and teachers are being protected from COVID-19 at schools

By Hadeel Agab Ashi
covid19, COVID-19, Sudan, back to school, school reopening, school safety, children, education, learning, teacher training
UNICEF Sudan/2021
16 February 2021

Finally, schools are open, and everyone is excited!

Children in the Red Sea state are back to school with a big smile on their faces. They missed their peers and teachers after staying home for over 9 months. They are excited to learn and explore their world.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented levels of disruption to education, impacting over 8.1 million students across Sudan. School closures and the impacts of COVID-19 on communities also leave children more vulnerable to sexual and gender-based violence, child labour, child marriage, and child recruitment in armed conflict.

As the government of the Red Sea state prepared to reopen schools, teachers and children minimizing the risk of transmission of COVID-19 within learning spaces was prioritized.

Teachers’ training

UNICEF Sudan, in collaboration with its partners and the state Ministry of Education, organized training for teachers on how to protect themselves and children from COVID-19 in order to ensure a safe return to school.

The teacher training centre held a four-day workshop in Port Sudan, Red Sea state, targeting 150 teachers from the locality. They were able to discuss issues such as the psychological effects of the pandemic on children, children’s readiness to resume education after a long absence from school and improving teachers’ and childrens’ behavior. 

The centre also provided support to teachers to improve their knowledge and professional experience. This was reflected in improved enrollment of children in schools, degrees, mental health and children’s relationships with their teachers. As a result, children can now express themselves openly and discuss their issues and concerns.

The first day at school

It’s 8 AM in Port Sudan! The weather is cool and windy. Parents are accompanying their kids to El Shargeya girls’ School. Children are carrying their bags and lunch boxes, greeting their friends and teachers in the school yard for the first time after almost a year. 

“After 9 months, I missed school and learning,” Qawareer, 8 year-old.

“I missed school because I miss my friends,” Suleiman, 6 year-old.
 

The school reopening process offers a unique opportunity for governments and schools to build back better and strengthen the resilience of the education system.

With thanks to our partners, UNICEF will continue to support Sudan to ensure safety in schools and continuity of education.

For every child, education.