Schools may not reopen anytime soon in September. Education cabinet secretary, Prof. Magoha addressing the media on Monday intimated that the current state of Covid-19 in Kenya does not warrant the government reopening schools in September 2020. All institutions of learning in Kenya were closed mid-March following the report on the first reported case of coronavirus within the Kenyan borders.
Following this incident, the government put up a raft of measures to mitigate the rise of the virus among the public. In addition to the closure of all schools and institutions of higher learning, places of worship and other social gatherings were also banned. Dusk to dawn curfews and lockdown of counties with high cases of the virus were also put in place to help contain the scourge.
Even then, the coronavirus infection has continued to rise drastically within the communities. As of Monday 29th, 120 more people were reported to have tested positive for the virus bringing the total to 6190 confirmed cases. A total of 144 people have succumbed to the disease.
Prof. Magoha had earlier on set September 1st as the tentative date to reopen schools. This came following the president’s directive, earlier on in June, to the ministry of education to find ways of reopening learning institutions. However, parents have had divided opinions on whether to send their children to school amid the uncontained COVID-19 pandemic.
Kenya National Union of Teachers, (KNUT), had recommended a raft of irreducible minimum measures to be undertaken by the ministry of education before the schools were to resume. KNUT puts forth that schools should only open following the advice of health specialists on the status of coronavirus in the country. The union recommends that all teachers and learners in boarding schools should undergo mass testing before reopening. Health measures should also be put in place to ensure that students have access to handwashing points and soup. More teachers should be employed and more classrooms built to adhere to social distancing measures.
KCSE and KCPE are rescheduled to take place between February and April 2021.
If the schools were to reopen on September 1st this year, Magoha stresses that new coronavirus infections in the country should be zero, and stay that way for 14 days. He pointed out that schools may then reopen in phases. The government is struggling with the idea of whether to allow the standard 8 and form 4 candidates to reopen first. The rest of the learners may follow suit depending with the situation.
A meeting at a Kabarak University guest house organized by KICD to look into the books to use for the new curriculum was canceled after two people in the guest house turned out positive of COVID-19. Eighty government officials had booked into the hotel were quarantined for 14 days. This comes even after Magoha says that the meeting was in full adherence to the ministry of health guidelines.
While speaking to media concerning the canceled meeting, the minister also noted that 15 to 20 school children will be put per class. Where social distance is not possible, learners will be given two masks specially designed for students.