Uhuru to lead talks on school reopening tomorrow
What you need to know:
- Parents have raised concerns over inadequate safety measures to protect learners.
- Prof Magoha said schools provide a better environment than homes because learners and teachers have adopted strict Covid-19 containment measures.
A high-level meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta tomorrow will decide the total reopening of schools, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has said.
After the meeting, technocrats from the ministries of Education, Health and Interior will engage other stakeholders before telling Kenyans when the rest of the learners who are still at home will be recalled to school.
“We will have a meeting on November 4 (Wednesday) with the President and other stakeholders after which we will have an internal meeting,” Prof Magoha said yesterday as he inspected the delivery of desks at Mukuru Primary School in Nairobi. “We want to make sure that we make the right decision and open schools at the right time,” he added.
He ruled out closing schools for learners in Grade Four, Class Eight and Form Four who resumed classes on October 12, despite the rising number of Covid-19 infections. This is even after dozens of students, teachers and workers in at least 35 schools contracted the virus.
Parents have raised concerns over inadequate safety measures to protect learners. But according to the CS, “all schools have complied with whatever is required except for one school”.
Prof Magoha said schools provide a better environment than homes because learners and teachers have adopted strict Covid-19 containment measures.
The increased infection rate across the country has seen Mr Kenyatta mull over imposing a second round of restrictions on movement to stem the spread of the disease.
“If you look at children in schools, they are wearing masks. When you go out of the schools, you see many people taking no precautions,” he said.
Health acting Director-General Patrick Amoth has already said that recent studies show that children between 10 and 19 years show mild symptoms of Covid-19 and that they are less likely to transmit the virus.
“Covid here is a marathon. It’s here to stay for a long time. Are you going to tell me that if we have Covid for five years, we’ll close school for five years? No, we need to put measures in place to ensure the safety of children when they go back to school,” Dr Amoth told the Nation last week.
Parents Association national chairman Nicholas Maiyo told the Nation that they will be weighing the pros and cons of taking learners back to school.
He said community infections of the virus has spread to all parts of the country and that children can contract the disease from other places as well.
“The coronavirus is everywhere. When we open schools, what will matter will be the measures put in place to protect children. If we establish that it’s safe for children to go back to school, why not?” he posed.
Prof Magoha warned an unnamed school in Nairobi that he said has allowed learners in grades One, Two and Three to resume learning to send the learners home by the end of the day (yesterday). He at the same time said all schools will receive desks, adding that most of them in Nairobi have already received theirs.
“The suppliers will be paid through M-Pesa. However, we have seen a number of artisans who have not delivered the desks,” CS Magoha said, adding that some unscrupulous suppliers are seeking to be paid before delivering desks. The CS also inspected Star of Hope Academy in Lunga Lunga where learning was ongoing for students in the examination classes.
The school, which has 140 Class Eight students divided into four streams, is among those that have already received desks.