Two Mombasa schools shut after teachers, students contract Covid-19

Star of the Sea high school in Mombasa. 

Photo credit: Laban Walloga | Nation Media Group

Two secondary schools in Mombasa have been shut after teachers and students reportedly contracted Covid-19.

Tononoka Secondary School and Star of the Sea High School were closed on Monday for two weeks.

Reliable sources told the Nation that at least eight people were reported positive at Tononoka while four cases were reported at Star of the Sea High School.

Some teachers from one of the schools are among those who have tested positive. A senior teacher in one of the schools is among those who contracted the disease.

Reports indicate that some of the teachers are yet to receive their results after their samples were taken by health officers.

“When he was confirmed (the senior teacher), that’s when all of us were asked to get tested. Some of the results came on Monday and both students and teachers were confirmed positive,” said a source in one of the schools.

A top government official visited one of the schools and ordered that the two institutions be shut until November 2.

A letter by Star of the Sea High School sent to parents dated October 19 (Monday) states that learning has been temporarily suspended to “allow fumigation”.

“This is to inform you that all school operations have been temporarily suspended with effect from today, Monday 19th  October, to allow fumigation. The school's normal operations will resume on Monday, 2nd November 2020,” says the letter seen by the Nation.

The closure of the schools comes at a time when Mombasa is said to be among the five counties that could face a lockdown following a sharp rise in the cases.

Following the spike, Mombasa County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo said hospitals are now fully occupied.

“To get an emergency bed in our hospitals is hard because they are all full. Cases are up and they continue to rise. Please wear that mask to save yourself,” said Mr Kitiyo during the Mashujaa Day celebrations at Mama Ngina Waterfront.

During the ceremony, Governor Hassan Joho urged the residents to protect themselves as no one can do it better, “not even the government”.

“We have increased the capacity to look after the sick. We have been dealing with Covid-19 until we got to a point, but the only person that can protect you better is yourself. Gatherings have been allowed up to some level but it doesn’t mean that you should not wear a mask,” he said.

Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) organising secretary Sheikh Mohammed Khalifa blamed the rising cases on gatherings by people who have ignored the wearing of mask rule.

Sheikh Khalifa asked the government to enforce strict measures in schools that have been opened.

“We are worried about our children who are back to school. We really need to ensure that they are protected. For the residents out here, please let us not lower our guard. Let us observe the basic protocols,” he said.

Mombasa has recorded over 3,000 Covid-19 cases so far and the county has been flagged as one of the regions that have recorded increasing Covid-19 cases as residents continue to flout health protocols.