Ricks Institute Principal and Chief Administrative Officer, the Rev. Dr. Olu Q. Menjay, says his administration is pleased to announce the resumption of school since its official closure during the 2013-2014 academic year due to the Ebola outbreak.
The outbreak led to the closure of all schools in the country by the government.
“While students and staff at Ricks are excited about the reopening of the school, the Ricks administration has been putting measures in place for the continuous fight against the deadly EVD during the school year and beyond,” Dr. Menjay told the Observer Education Desk.
Ricks boarding students, he said, are scheduled to arrive on campus on March 1 and classes will resume on March 2.
“No student will be allowed on campus after 5:30 p.m. Due to the Ebola menace, all students will be medically screened,” said Rev. Menjay.
Meanwhile, each student has been advised to bring a gallon of chloride as well as his or her own bottle and hand sanitizer on campus.
At the same time, Ricks has adjusted its school uniform policy while strengthening Ebola prevention measures.
“All Ricks Institute students are required to wear blue jeans/ long skirt and long sleeve, buttoned down solid color shirts. There will be no skinny jeans and stripy shirts,” Dr. Menjay declared.
Also, dark colored tennis shoes and black or brown belts will be accepted as part of the uniform. Solid white or maroon shirts are reserved for 12th graders.
Meanwhile, all teachers and administrative staff are required to wear long sleeve shirts and trousers or skirts as part of the Ebola preventive measures. “The temperature of students in the dorms will be tested twice a day, while commuting or day students will be tested prior to entering campus each morning. Teachers and other staff are required to undergo temperature tests,” the new policy states.
According to Dr. Menjay, the decision to adjust its uniform policy was the administration’s way of remaining sensitive and proactive in the collective fight against the deadly Ebola virus. “Since blue jeans are easily accessible or owned by students, parents do not need to worry about securing extra money to purchase blue jeans.”
Ricks Institute, a grade school from K to 12 Grade, is a learning and faith community of the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention, Inc. (LBMEC).
Ricks Institute, formerly called “Zodokai Mission,” began through the generous contribution of Mr. Moses U. Ricks, a Liberian Baptist farmer from Clay Ashland, Liberia. Mr. Ricks donated the highest amount of US$500 which was used to purchase the property where the institution is currently located, about 1000 plus acres of land. The campus is located in the beautiful and scenic area of Virginia, about 16 miles east of Monrovia, Liberia’s capital. The Ricks campus has limitless space for expansion.
Designed as a co-educational residential campus, the school’s boarding facilities have the capacity, once in full operation, of hosting about 620 students as well as housing for staff and faculties. Ricks academic level runs from kindergarten through Grade 12th.
Since academic year 2007-2008, Ricks Institute restarted both the boarding school and the day school (with students from the nearby community and villages.) The school attracts students from all over Liberia and beyond. The school, in 2010, reopened its elementary boy’s dormitory.
According to Dr. Menjay, the school has renovated and subsequently reopened its elementary girls’ dormitory. “As Ricks aims to resurrect from the ashes of destruction, looting, bloodshed and pains, it is in desperate need of financial assistance” since the civil war that ravaged its facilities.
“We believe that Ricks Institute, although scarred by immense struggles, has again under our administration, become a beacon of realized hope and possibilities for Liberia through providing holistic educational opportunities for young lives, which in turn will provide future [service] to Liberia and the society beyond.”
Meanwhile, many other schools in and around Monrovia, including faith-based and privately-owned as well as government-run institutions are gradually reopening their doors for academic activities.