We are sure you are aware of the significant, and immediate challenges that the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has presented in all walks of life. PEAS would like to reassure you that we are taking active measures to prepare for the impact of COVID-19 on our schools, and respond to the challenges it has already presented to our wider organisation.

This week, Uganda and Zambia’s governments announced that all schools must close on Friday 20th March 2020. As always, the health, safety and wellbeing of our students and employees are of the utmost priority.

We are therefore working closely with the PEAS Country Teams to put robust school closure plans in place. These will ensure clear communications with parents and students about the virus and school closure procedures, and help to minimise disruption as much as possible. As schools close, students will be given take-home assignments and study tips so they can continue their studies. They will also be given health tips and awareness on Covid-19 so as to be agents of good health in the community.

Despite the disruption, PEAS is as committed as ever to supporting students during this unprecedented time. Indeed, we believe there is a key role for us to play to promote the safety and learning of students, even while schools are closed.

Therefore, we are also developing plans to continue to support our students’ learning and adjust our wider programming during the period of closure. These plans will be based on evidence about what has worked during other recent disease outbreaks. This could include using school closures as an opportunity to take novel approaches to remote learning, teacher professional development, and school improvement. We look forward to sharing more details of this with you in the near future.

Below are some examples of the efforts PEAS has already taken to ensure staff and students remain safe:

  • Initiation of a network-wide Covid-19 management plan based on risk assessments and latest official guidance from the WHO and UK, Uganda and Zambian governments

  • All overseas travel and international visitors to PEAS schools have been suspended

  • The UK office staff are now working from home with clear structures for effective remote working

  • Development and dissemination of information packs for in country teams on the virus, and guidelines on self-care and protection against it

We appreciate your ongoing support at this difficult time, and will be reaching out to individual funders to discuss partnership specifics and flexibility during these exceptional times. We will endeavour to provide you with regular updates on our response to this fast-changing situation either via email or on our website.

Please do not hesitate to contact PEAS with any questions you may have, and I wish you, your teams and all of your loved ones good health at this most challenging time.

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