As I wrote back in February things were going well, slowly beginning to normalize. Senior students at each level were preparing for national exam, and other classes were studying at various intervals. The plan was to have the normal school year back in place within two years. We were feeling pretty optimistic, despite what was going in the rest of the world.
The Library compound was finished. Some of you may have been left wondering what we would do with the large hole in front of the library. Even I was left wondering for a long period of time. Then it became obvious to me. It would become an outdoor auditorium.
We were blessed in early March with an informal visit by Rt. Rev. Johnson Twinomujuni who came to check on the school and to encourage us in these difficult times.
A highlight and a moment of personal encouragement for me was when I was recognized for my years of service by the Diocese of Ankole in late May. It was a tremendous honor and I continue to be so grateful that God has called me to serve in this particular part of his vineyard, and for his abundant grace and blessings for the past 23 years.
The good news is that in those first months of 2021 all the finalists successfully completed their examinations, and are now preparing for their next level of studies. The bad news is that a second wave of covid hit us in May, and in early June the President put the country under full lockdown. Once again, we were to stay in our homes apart from getting necessities, but the use of cars and other forms of passenger transport were banned. The good news is that the lockdown worked, and restrictions were partially lifted. Curfew of 7 pm remained, and churches and schools remained closed. Churches were eventually allowed to reopen at the end of September and universities as of November 1st.
The availability of vaccines in Uganda is improving slowly slowly. The government is optimistic that they well have as many as 12 million doses by December. The actual process of vaccination was problematic for a while, but there has been much improvement and there have been an increasing number of mass vaccination exercises.
So, what does the future hold for primary and secondary schools. A few days back, the President announced that everything including schools would open up fully in January. News that we were happy to receive. Previously there were conditions set that had to be met before this could happen. One is that 5 million people must be fully vaccinated. This group are the vulnerable, those over 60, the vulnerable etc. (Those over 65 years of ag comprise just under 2% of the total population). Secondly that all teachers, staff and students over 18 are fully vaccinated. A big task but I’m becoming optimistic. About 3.5 million doses have been administered so far. The argument behind the decision not to open the schools is that the children will catch covid and spread it to the unvaccinated adults in their families, potentially creating another generation of orphans as AIDs did previously.
We are now beginning to prepare the school for reopening in 6 weeks’ time, although we have yet to be told the specifics of how it will happen. Theological studies have already resumed this past week. So, there are signs of normalcy returning at the school.
Despite all of the hardships we were able to make good progress on some of the school projects before we were closed again. We were able to reach the roofing stage on all three of the music buildings, with the concrete also be poured in the choral rehearsal room, as well construct a new administration building to keep up with our growth these past twenty plus years. We were very pleased to complete the first phase of construction including roofing.
Left (Music, Dance & Drama/Band; Center (Electronic Keyboard Lab); Right (Choral Rehearsal Room)
New Administration Block
While 2021 was not the year we anticipated, and that it brought further difficulties for the school, our staff, and students, we have much to be thankful for just the same. Because of the tremendous support we received in 2020 – 2021 the school continues to be in great shape and we will be able to reopen in the coming months with minimal difficulties. We are grateful to have been able to celebrate with Rev. Joseph Tusinguire, our student for 6 years, and now Chaplain, Teacher, and Coordinator of Theology program, as he wed Praise. We congratulate Joseph and Praise and wish them all the best in their new life together.
On this happy note let me close. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate everyones support for so many years, and particularly in this difficult period. With your help we are truly making a difference. May God continue to bless and keep you!
Rev. Canon Paul Jeffries
Bishop McAllister College & Bishop McAllister Anglican Seminary
“To God be the Glory”