Sierra Leone government will temporarily reopen schools next month to allow registered students to sit for the public examinations, the government announced on Thursday.
An Emergency Education Taskforce has been set up to handle the logistical requirements ahead of the planned reopening, to prevent the spread of the virus in schools.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MoBSSE) set the reopening date for July 1. Schools will remain open for six weeks so that students can prepare for and do the exams.
Three public examinations will be conducted within the period: the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSEC), the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) and National Primary School Examinations (NPSE).
All three exams are conducted at a regional level by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC).
They are transition stages for pupils to progress to the next level of their academic journey. While WASSCE students transition to college and university, BECE students transition to Senior Secondary level, and the NPSE students to the BECE level.
Sierra Leone shut down schools on March 31, after the country recorded its first case of COVID-19.
As of Thursday, the country had recorded 1,085 confirmed Covid-19 cases.