MAGOHA: SCHOOLS MAY NOT REOPEN IN JANUARY
If CS Magoha’s latest sentiments are anything to go by, then learners in Kenya may not resume learning in January 2021 as earlier planned.
Magoha said that schools have not met the minimum reopening requirements set by the ministry of health and the World Health Organization to keep the virus at bay once learning resumes.
The CS further admitted to the fact that achieving social distancing in schools will be an uphill task given the poor infrastructure in public schools.
Besides, the government has not availed funds to help improve infrastructure.
“It could have been expected that enough money should have been made available right now so that we can improve infrastructure,” Professor Magoha told the Parliamentary education committee during a virtual meeting held on Thursday, August 8, 2020.
The CS avoided giving a definite date for the reopening of basic learning institutions.
He also cited the spiking cases of covid-19 infections that may push the reopening dates further.
Lack of a vaccine to contain the spread of the virus may also affect the reopening plans.
Magoha however promised to improve infrastructure in schools using the available funds.
“We are going to improve on the infrastructure according to the amount of money availed to us,” he said.
TOUGH REOPENING GUIDELINES
The proposals are contained in a document dubbed Guidelines on Health and Safety Protocols for Reopening of Basic Education Institutions.
Closure of schools
Key among them is the planned closure of some schools permanently so that the government can focus on day schooling as opposed to boarding.
The CS further argued that boarding school should only be considered for students who travel from far.
Consequently, parents should be prepared to transfer learners to neighboring schools as a plan B.
The document also wants all schools to ensure learners have access to handwashing facilities, face masks, thermoguns, disinfectants and more toilets and bathrooms.
All classes and lecture halls must have running water.
In order to achieve social distancing which necessitated a prolonged closure of schools, the CS proposed to have makeshift classrooms in cases where teachers can teleconference to ease congestion.
All subordinate staff will be provided with personal protective gear. Those at the kitchen department will need clearance certificates before handling food.
Learners should also shun away from any form of sharing be it books, pens, or personal items such as school attire.
Schools will also have to be subjected to mandatory inspection by MoH and education ministry officials.
The implementation of these proposals will cost billions. The CS has therefore implored upon parents to sacrifice for the sake of their children.
” Parents, schools and the government will have to dig deeper into their pockets. All the proposals will cost billions but we have to sacrifice for the sake of our children, ” said KUPPET secretary-general Akello Misori in an interview.