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Why the Reopening of Schools Might be a Great Risk

In light of the ongoing economic crisis, a handful of countries like Japan and Norway already began the process of slowly reopening the economy. Governments have allowed essential services all along in most countries but with deteriorating economies, it is increasingly a matter of when and not if most governments will loosen lockdown restrictions. Going by the last speech of President Uhuru Kenyatta, eventually schools will reopen.
This brings into mind the question of ‘what is going to happen if things turn for the worst?’ or ‘is it really possible to open schools and still be able to keep fighting and containing the spread of COVID – 19?’
The following are the reasons why the reopening of schools might be a huge risk

1. Social Distancing In Schools Will Be Difficult

One of the precautions of preventing the spread of COVID – 19 is keeping a safe one meter or six feet apart from the closest person next to you at all times. To achieve this you have to always be vigilant that nobody gets too close to you or you close to anyone. However, achieving this in a school environment at all times is difficult. The available facilities normally contain as high a number of students as possible. There have even been calls for hiring more teachers as a teacher to student ratio is still low. With such a huge number of students it will be impossible to have this precaution take effect. There have been opinions of only class eight and form four students to resume but this will mean the other students will remain unattended at home for a long period that will make it impossible to cover the syllabus.

2. New COVID – 19 infections are still being recorded

The aim of the lockdown was to protect Kenyans from the spread of the Corona Virus. It has been a success as new cases have been for a long time in the low hundreds. However, the numbers have relatively peaked recently and now we have 1214 recorded cases at the moment of writing this article. With the numbers not getting any less so far it might take more time to know when we should unbuckle up and return to normality.

3. Sanitization and wearing of masks may not be effective in a school environment

Students might not take the issue of wearing masks and sanitizing seriously. Besides, playing in groups is a possibility with or without the presence of teachers. It will take a huge effort from teachers to ensure students follow the precautions properly and spraying of appropriate chemicals on beds, walls, and all other potential surfaces that may harbor infection. Besides, students will need talks from medical personnel to enable them to familiarize themselves with what precautions they are supposed to follow so that they can protect themselves better.

4. Presence of students and teachers from Corona hotspots

Reopening of schools will involve people from areas that are COVID – 19 hotspots such as Nairobi and Mombasa. There teachers and students who teach elsewhere but their homes are in these areas and this makes them a health risk to the stations that they will go back to. They will be a threat and this may hinder their service delivery.

5. No viable cure for COVID – 19 yet

There have been reports of a cure been close to mass production in the USA and China but these ‘reports’ go further to give a potential 6 – 12 months period for the cures to be approved and declared safe for use by the responsible health organizations. This means that living with COVID – 19 while waiting for a cure may be the new norm.

6. Frequent Testing in all schools Countrywide will be required

Before teachers and students resume they might be required to undergo COVID – 19 testing before they can resume teaching and learning. However, there is a tricky part. Testing all students before entering or while in the school premises will be of no use as not all students are in boarding. The Day-schooling students can still be vulnerable on the way home or at home as they will be living with their family members. Besides, it is not possible to quarantine all students before learning begins. As dubious as it looks, students will simply take buses and go to school from all parts of the country and then be contained in a small space (school) and then go home on the part of day scholars. Imagine what that means to the safety of your son or daughter.


Taking all the above into consideration, it is important that we put all the cards on the table. Peoples’ lives are at stake and it won’t be just floods and COVID-19 that will take more peoples’ lives. This article is not of the opinion that it is impossible to reopen schools and the economy. Perhaps, it will not be a shame to borrow the example of Japan and Norway on the idea of reopening of schools.

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