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Poor turnout as Guinea schools reopen after Ebola break

media French junior minister Annick Girardin opens an Ebola treatment centre in the Guinea town of Macenta © Henri Soupa

In Guinea-Conakry schools reopened on Monday after the government prolonged holidays due to the Ebola outbreak in the country. However, yesterday's turn-out was lower that expected, as many parents refused to let their children go to school while Ebola remains in the country.

Despite calls by the authorities for students and teachers to turn out massively for the reopening of Guinea's schools on Monday, the occasion failed to attract the attention of parents and students.

Dossier: Ebola outbreak 2014

From the capital, Conakry, to the interior of the country the turnout remained the same.

In one class of 50 students only five were present yesterday and in some classes no students were present, with teachers parading the empty halls.

Schools in some areas were essentially closed to due to fears of spreading Ebola.

In Marella, a town in upper Guinea, angry youths stopped schools from reopening in the area, saying they must remain shut until Ebola is eradicated from Guinea.

The prefect of upper Guinea's Faranah district, Marie Kenneth Guilavogui, yesterday pleaded with the youths to accept the reopening of schools, promising that the necessary steps have been taken to ensure the pupils' safety and warned against any act that could disturb resuming normal classes.

Reactions on the streets in Guinea have been mixed with some parents saying the government should have waited until the 60-day campaign to eradicate Ebola from Guinea ends in February.

The government has placed hand-washing buckets in front of all schools for students to wash their hands before entering the classrooms in a bid to reassure parents.

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