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KNUT and UASU Propose Continued Stay at Home due to COVID-19

A group of unions for secondary, primary, and university teaching staff have come up with a proposal for students to continue staying at home until as far as November 2021. This group comprises of the University Academic Staff Union (UASU) and Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT). They are both recommending for a little patience as a rushed reopening of schools will lead to only more infection and deaths due to COVID – 19.

“The Reopening of universities, colleges and schools must be done transparently, phased and should be also be done with clear communication by the government and all public schools, colleges, and universities. The input of public health professionals, educators, front-line healthcare professionals, academic staff, and the unions,” said the unions at a joint press conference on Wednesday.

The national COVID – 19 education response committee will come up with a recommendations report in the next few days. They are currently working on the recommendations which will dictate the direction learning will take in the country.

KNUT secretary general, Wilson Sossion implored the government to let students stay at home because they are safe there.

“We would rather have learners at home, alive and safe,” he said Sossion.

In his opinion repeating a year in school is better than going to school only to end up infected with COVID-19.

“If we suspend some matters the world will not end. Exams are not a ticket to heaven,” he added.

On KCPE and KCSE examinations, the group proposed postponement until everything returns to normal, even if that is November 2021, next year. This is in hope that by that time a vaccine will be available by then and hopefully the vaccine developers will ‘share’ the vaccine to all countries.

“We heard talk about Form Four and class Eight reopening but these are human beings. It is not like the world is ending. Children can even repeat a class as it is better to save lives. Nobody in this country should gamble with learners’ lives,” Sossion added.

He also went on to suggest that opening of bars and social distancing should be tested.

Besides the above-mentioned recommendations, he also recommended that proper planning on how fumigation and testing of learners.

“It is advisable to keep all Kenyan educational institutions and universities closed until the number of new cases stabilizers or declines for at least 14 consecutive days before considering phased reopening.” Reads the group report in part.

Uganda is set to reopen schools next month and it is likely that Kenya might go in the same direction. But the union urged caution before embarking on the reopening of schools.

“Establish treatment facilities to handle any cases that could arise to ensure access to health services by lecturers, teachers, non-teaching staff, and learners. Provides a sustainable supply of personal equipment for teachers, students, and workers,” read the unions’ report.

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