HIGH-LEVEL SUMMIT RULES OUT THE POSSIBILITY OF OPENING SCHOOLS AMIDST SPIKING CORONAVIRUS CASES
A virtual summit attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta, Governors, and other key stakeholders appeared to rule out the possibility of reopening schools in September 2020 after reports emerged showing that 34 counties were yet to enforce the minimum measures proposed by health experts.
The summit which was chaired by the President brought together the deputy president and 47 Governors to reach a middle ground on the safety measures to be enforced ahead of the reopening of the economy.
Details emerging from the forum clearly show how ill-prepared schools are to enforce the social distancing rule given that there are only 40, 000 learning centers against a learner population of 14 million.
Besides, there will be a greater risk if learners resume school before the peak of the coronavirus.
The President jogged the memory of Kenyans back to the year 1982 when the school calendar was disrupted for over a year after the August failed coup.
In 1982, learning was suspended for one year, therefore, this will not be the first time for the school calendar to be disrupted.
In his submission, CS Magoha said that looking at the student population versus the available facilities, it will be very difficult to implement the social distancing rule.
This explains why the Government is still at crossroads when it comes to the issue of reopening schools.
The CS further suggested a delayed reopening of schools until virus cases drop. Furthermore, school clusters should be attached to a health facility before reopening.
“I will advise not to open schools when infections from the disease are still rising. We propose that school clusters be attached to a health facility before we can open,” said the CS
PANIC IN SCHOOLS
He also presented a possible scenario that is likely to cause panic in schools if proper measures are not put in place.
“When a child runs a fever, what do you do to avoid panic in the school? Do you shut down the school and send pupils home? Pupils may have fever resulting from other ailments, not necessarily from Covid-19.”
KCSE, KCPE EXAMS
From the arguments raised in the meeting, it appears that only standard eight and form four learners may be allowed to resume learning to sit for their exams as the rest of the 12 million learners stay home longer.
Deputy President William Ruto also advised Kenyans to get used to the new normal until a vaccine for the dreaded virus is found.
He also added saying that we should look at the possibility of the 1.5 million candidates opening for them to write the exams.
If schools were to reopen, CS Magoha explained that stringent measures such as avoiding sharing of books or masks should be put in place to mitigate virus effects.
Schools will also have to be fumigated and cleaned regularly to complement other hygiene efforts such as the washing of hands.
All eyes are set on the President who is expected to address the nation on July 6 on the next course of action.