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Schools to Remain Closed Until Stakeholders Agree On Safety Measures

Following the closure of schools in March to curb the spread of COVID-19, President Uhuru was expected to ease measures taken by the government after Kenya recorded the first case among them being the reopening of schools.

President Uhuru and other government officials met in Nairobi to discuss what to do with the COVID-19 pandemic with many Kenyans increasingly hoping for the declaration of the flattening of the curve. Among those who were present at the KICC meeting included Health CS Mutahi Kagwe and ODM leader Raila Odinga and Council of Governors Chairperson Wycliffe Oparanya.

The meeting comes after a virtual conference held by key leaders on the status of the country after the country has undergone six months of the economic recession caused by the spread of COVID-19.

Schools are yet to reopen with most learners who have been stuck at home still uncertain about the date of reopening. The President was expected to announce the date of the reopening of schools but it seems we may have to wait a little longer.

“Learning institutions should only reopen when we have and can sufficiently guarantee children will be safe in schools. We should not focus on when schools will reopen but how we will reopen,” said President Uhuru in a press statement today.

Besides, the Head of State also said that the Cabinet Secretary of Education Prof George Magoha will announce the date for reopening of schools after all stakeholders have reached an agreement on the safety measures.

Many learners have suffered at home due to the effects of being free with nothing to do. An empty mind is the devil’s workshop they say. Not going to school has led to an increase in the number of early and unwanted pregnancies to figures never seen before. This is largely due to the part played by some irresponsible adults who charm young girls with cheap gifts.

The reopening of schools will be a huge reprieve to students of basic education countrywide, as they will continue their studies from where they left instead of having to repeat classes next year. Teachers all over the country met today in schools and discussed strategies on how to prepare schools for reopening. They must have also discussed among other things how to meet the requirements set by the Ministry of Health to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The measures set by the Ministry of Health include sanitizing and washing of hands, maintaining a 1.5m social distancing, and wearing facemasks. All these measures have to be followed strictly to prevent any outbreaks in schools with any suspected cases isolated in special isolation rooms. Psychological support is also to be provided for students as and when it is necessary.

If schools reopen soon, form four students and class eight students will probably be the first to report to schools together with form three and class seven students among the first cohort to report to schools. The rest of the forms and classes will report a week later as reopening will happen gradually.

Besides, form four students will begin preparing for national examinations, which they will sit for in April next year. The Ministry of Education implores teachers not to compromise on the set School Means or targets for the KCSE examination despite the situation. Candidate students are to be taught as if there was no COVID-19 and strive to succeed as they could have in a normal situation.

Teachers will formally be on duty at all times when schools reopen, even though teachers on duty will be the ones tasked with responsibility per week.

The syllabus will also have to be completed in time and teachers are encouraged to use common sense above all and be creative and innovative in order to meet syllabi requirements.

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