Sierra Leone schools open after eight month closure

1.8 million children in Ebola plagued nation prepare to continue school after eight month halt

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Following eight months of closure, schools and students in the formerly Ebola plagued nation of Sierra Leone prepared to continue lessons Tuesday.

"This marks a major step in the normalization of life in Sierra Leone," said Sierra Leone Unicef representative Roeland Monasch.

The reopening of schools, viewed as a massive step towards a resumption of daily life, comes as a relief to a country which has lost more than 3,800 people to Ebola.

"It is important that all children get into school including those who were out of school before the Ebola outbreak. Education for all is a key part of the recovery process for the country."

Schools were set to reopen March 30, but discoveries of more Ebola cases around the capital Freetown lead to further postponement.

Ebola cases across Sierra Leone have decreased over the past five weeks as Monday saw only nine new cases of the Ebola virus being reported.

A UNICEF statement released Monday said that more schools have begun complying with "protocols for safe school reopening.”

“Cases of Ebola continue to be reported in Sierra Leone, but are well down from levels seen at the end of 2014."

The Sierra Leone government announced that it has allocated 13.8 million euros to spend on creating clean lavatories and wells to prevent outbreaks within schools.

The Ebola virus ran rampant in West Africa, becoming viral in the summer months.

The virus has killed over 10,000 people in West Africa so far, with nearly 12,000 of cases of the disease coming from Sierra Leone.

Vaccine tests for the virus did not begin until March 7, when test samples were given to patients in Guinea.

TRTWorld and agencies