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Liberia schools reopen after 6-month Ebola closure

A Liberian school teacher takes the temperature of students as they arrive for morning lessons at school Monday, the students' first day in the classroom in six months.Abbas Dulleh /AP A Liberian school teacher takes the temperature of students as they arrive for morning lessons at school Monday, the students’ first day in the classroom in six months. Liberian students wash their hands forming part of the Ebola prevention measures put in place at BW Harris High School.Abbas Dulleh /AP Liberian students wash their hands forming part of the Ebola prevention measures put in place at BW Harris High School.
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  • A Liberian school teacher, left, takes the temperature of students as they arrive for morning lessons at school, as part of the Ebola prevention measures put in place at the BW Harris High School in Monrovia, Liberia, Monday, Feb. 16, 2015. Students in Liberia began returning to their classrooms Monday after a six-month closure during the Ebola epidemic that left some thousands dead in this West African country.(AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
  • Liberian students wash their hands forming part of the Ebola prevention measures put in place at BW Harris High School as children arrive in the morning to attend classes in Monrovia, Liberia, Monday, Feb. 16, 2015. Students in Liberia began returning to the classroom Monday after a six-month closure during the Ebola epidemic that left some thousands dead in this West African country. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)

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MONROVIA, Liberia — Students in Liberia began returning to the classroom Monday after a six-month closure during the Ebola epidemic that left thousands dead in this West African country.

In the capital, lines formed outside entrances where returning students’ temperatures were being taken. Ebola’s main symptom is a high fever, and only those who are sick can spread the deadly virus to others.

Deputy Education Minister Remses Kumbuyah said more than 5,000 kits were distributed to schools that included thermometers and chlorine for hand-washing.

“They should wash their hands in chlorine and they should ensure that there is no touching while on campus,” the minister told The Associated Press. “We are asking all the school administrators to ensure that a classroom should not have more than 45 or 50 students.”

A Liberian health worker speaks with families in a classroom used as Ebola isolation ward on Aug.15 in Monrovia, Liberia.John Moore/Getty Images A Liberian health worker speaks with families in a classroom used as Ebola isolation ward on Aug.15 in Monrovia, Liberia.

Overcrowding is a major problem in Liberia’s schools, where as many as 100 pupils may be in a single classroom. Since Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids, administrators want to minimize the potential spread.

Ebola has killed more than 3,800 people in Liberia, and while only a handful of cases remain health officials have warned that a single new case could trigger a whole new cluster of infections.

Nearly 9,200 people have died since the first Ebola deaths in rural Guinea in December 2013. The disease ravaged through Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone — all countries with weak health systems that were ill-prepared for such an epidemic.

Lifestyle – NY Daily News

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