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SOS Children’s Villages reopens its schools in Liberia
MONROVIA, Liberia, Feb. 20, 2015—SOS Children’s Villages welcomed back hundreds of students on Monday to its primary school and kindergarten in Monrovia, Liberia, nearly six months after the state ordered all schools to close in an effort to contain the spread of Ebola.
SOS Hermann Gmeiner International School (HGIS), a primary and secondary school that was founded in 1985, saw 400 students and 25 teachers return to class on Monday. The SOS kindergarten, which SOS Children’s Villages opened in Monrovia in 1981, welcomed back 53 teachers and nine students. The majority of students and teachers returned at both schools.
Before beginning classes on Monday, healthcare workers from the SOS Medical Center in Monrovia held an orientation for teachers and students regarding precautionary measures they should take to guard against contracting and spreading the disease. For example, students and teachers were instructed not to shake hands or hug each other.
“We know that there are still a few cases of Ebola in the country and that is why we established a very high health standard on our SOS school campuses and a very effective emergency Ebola response team. We are ready to run this academic year, despite the health crisis in the country,” said Quendi Appleton, Administrator of the SOS Medical Center in Monrovia.
Since the Ebola outbreak was first reported in March 2014, Liberia has recorded at least 3,826 deaths, the most among the three main countries impacted by Ebola, according to the World Health Organization. The total number of Ebola-related deaths in West Africa is more than 9,000.
In reopening its schools, Liberia followed Guinea, which reopened its schools in mid-January. Sierra Leone is planning to reopen its schools in March.
Despite the uncertainty and fear among parents and students about returning to the two schools run by SOS Children’s Villages, the students were generally eager to return to class.
“I am happy to be back in school this morning and grateful to be among those still alive. I am happy that I can see some of my friends and teachers again on campus,” said a 10th-grade student at the SOS Hermann Gmeiner International School.
Click here to learn more about SOS Children’s Villages’ efforts to fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
About SOS Children’s Villages
SOS Children's Villages is the largest non-governmental organization focused on supporting children without parental care and families at risk. The organization was founded in 1949 and today runs more than 2,300 programs reaching more than a million children and adults in over 130 countries and territories. SOS Children's Villages adheres to the principle that every child grows best in a family environment, with loving parents or caregivers, living together with their siblings, in a place they can call home. SOS Children's Villages works with communities, local partners and authorities to support disadvantaged families, thus preventing family breakdown. When necessary and when it is deemed to be in the child's best interests, there is the option for children to grow up in an SOS Children's Villages family. More information on SOS Children's Villages can be found at www.sos-usa.org.