Ebola Crisis: Save the Children Supports Safe Reopening of One in Five Liberian Schools

Monrovia, Liberia (Feb. 16, 2015) — Save the Children is actively supporting the long-anticipated re-opening of hundreds of schools in Liberia today following a six-month educational hiatus due to the Ebola crisis.

The move comes after weeks of steady declines in the number of new Ebola cases in Liberia, which, at the peak of the epidemic in mid-2014, was reporting more than 300 cases a week, but recorded only three new cases for the week ending February 8, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

"This is obviously a time for much celebration for a country that has been ravaged by the worst Ebola outbreak in history," said Save the Children's Liberia country director, Greg Duly.

"However, we must be sure that schools re-open safely so that students and parents won't fear a flare-up of the disease. It is more important than ever to remain vigilant as we send Liberia's most precious resource back to school."

The Government of Liberia has established strict guidelines to ensure that school children return to an Ebola-free environment, including the provision of hand washing facilities; accurate non-contact thermometers; a small space for the temporary isolation of any suspected Ebola case; and a robust referral system with a nearby health facility.

Save the Children has been working closely with the Liberian Ministry of Education, and other local partners, to provide intensive Ebola-prevention training for teachers and community members in more than 840 schools, including helping to set up local Ebola safety committees and reliable patient transfer systems.

In 546 of these schools, the agency is also distributing hundreds of safety kits comprising of digital thermometers, chlorine, soap, buckets, brooms, educational posters, and rubber gloves and rain boots, as well as providing hand washing facilities and reliable water supplies.

"Now is not the time to let our guard down, despite the tremendous progress we've made against this disease," Duly said.

"More than half of Liberia's schools lack a reliable water supply, suffer from poor building and general infrastructure, and don't have adequate educational supplies. In light of this situation, the re-opening date of 16 February should be seen as a starting point and not an end date."

More than one million children in Liberia were affected by the closure of schools as a result of the Ebola outbreak.

Over the last six months, Save the Children has been working with local communities to help spread Ebola prevention messages, and develop innovative approaches to learning, including teacher training, radio-based education, and the distribution of learning materials to children in their homes.

Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. Since our founding more than 100 years ago, we’ve changed the lives of more than 1 billion children. In the United States and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share. Follow us on FacebookInstagramTwitter and YouTube.


We’ll be in touch! By signing up to receive emails from Save the Children you will receive a subscription to our monthly eNews, access to breaking emergency alerts and opportunities to get involved. To ensure delivery of Save the Children emails to your inbox, add support@savechildren.org to your contact list.

By providing my mobile phone number, I agree to receive recurring text messages from Save the Children (48188) and phone calls with opportunities to donate and ways to engage in our mission to support children around the world. Text STOP to opt-out, HELP for info. Message & data rates may apply. View our Privacy Policy at savethechildren.org/privacy.