Despite the growing number of cases in Africa, most governments on the continent are planning to return to normal lives by easing the various restrictions imposed due to the pandemic.
One of the basic challenges is the reopening of schools which has been closed since March in some affected countries on the continent.
But the West African country, Ivory Coast, has reopened schools again despite the increasing number of infections in the country. The french country has recorded over 2,300 cases of COVID-19.
However, authorities believe that students can study safely together after introducing additional hygiene steps.
In one of the schools in Abidjan, children line up in backpacks to wash their hands under the strict supervision of a teacher before entering their school, where they are seat one at a desk with bottles of sanitizing gel.
“We were a bit scared at first. When we saw that protective measures were being followed, the fear was gone,” said 14-year-old Samira Cisse.
The surrounding countries are likely to be watching closely to see whether Côte d’Ivoire’s decision to reopen schools leads to an increase in infections. With millions of children still at home, the Save the Children Aid Agency says many can experience serious setbacks due to limited distance learning opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Ivory Coast Ministry of Education told Reuters that they had assessed the severity of the decision.
“We also have an urgent obligation to ensure that the children entrusted to us can complete their education,” Minister Assoumou Kabran said.
The reopening of classrooms also meant that thousands of students and their teachers had to be returned to boarding schools outside Abidjan, the epicentre of the epidemic.
The 38-year-old French teacher, Patrick Jobouette, is waiting with hundreds of other people in a sunny stadium to get a bus out of town.
“We were a little worried when we left because we did not know whether we had the coronavirus or not or whether the children were contaminated or not,” he said.
In Europe, France recalled students back to school but the decision was quickly reversed after a week when new cases were recorded among students.