The increasing number of deaths due to the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD) has claimed the attention of authorities at the Ministry of Education (MOE).
As such, the MOE has out rightly rejected the selection of school campuses for use as facilities for Ebola holding centers or Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs) for those afflicted or suspected of carrying symptoms of the killer disease.
Education Minister, Etmonia David Tarpeh, warned that no individuals, organizations, agencies, institutions or taskforce team should use school buildings or facilities as Ebola quarantine centers anywhere around the country.
Minister Tarpeh rejected calls by some county authorities requesting the use of school facilities as Ebola quarantine centers or treatment centers to refrain from such idea.
According to her, that idea has the intention or the ability to create fear among students when classes shall officially resume in the not too long distance future.
“Please stop your demand because it is not in the interest to improve Liberia’s educational system, which is struggling to provide quality and affordable education to every Liberian and foreign national in the country,” Minister pleaded.
She disclosed among other things that the MOE is working ‘tirelessly’ to protect and maintain all school facilities in the country.
Works by the minister, the Minister believes to further give the government the necessary impetus to resume classes shortly when the Ebola crisis reduces.
She argued that the usage of school facilities as Ebola withholding or quarantine centers has the knack to delay re-opening of learning institutions in the country.
“The use of schools as Ebola withholding or treatment centers will further traumatize students, thereby prolonging the healing process,” she observed.
Minister Tarpeh also disclosed that the ministries of Foreign Affairs, and National Defense, recently signed a resolution that schools in Liberia will be protected as “Zones of Peace” in times of crises.
Document of commitment calling for the protection of academic facilities in the case of crisis, the Minister said, was in the possession of the MOE at her Sinkor 3rd street offices in Monrovia.
Minister’s Tarpeh reaction became necessary when several other organizations and individuals over the past weeks embarked on ‘systematic’ campaign suggestions the use of schools campuses or its facilities as Ebola withhold centers or the treatment centers for those being victimized by the EVD.
In a related development, the secretary-general of the Civil Society Movement of Liberia (CSML), Christopher Toe, recently called on the government to reopen all schools in the country.
Toe believes that when schools are reopened, campuses could be used as one of the cardinal points to carry out Ebola sensitization, and to also promote hygienic measures, thereby moving Liberia towards zeroing the infection.
Mr. Toe made the recommendation during programs marking the official launch of the National Teachers’ Association (NTAL) Ebola Awareness Program in Monrovia a week ago.
He then emphasized that with the reopening of schools, teachers and students could be hired by the National Taskforce on the fight against Ebola to play a vital role in spreading anti-Ebola messages both at school, and in their various communities.
He on the other hand, challenged teachers to approach the Ebola issue with commitment and dedication to help contain the spread of the virus since they (teachers) are the role models.