Teachers concerned as learners disregard virus prevention measures in new schools’ reality; Education News
Latest reports hitting our newsdesk now indicate that learners are now “at home” in as far as the Covid-19 pandemic is concerned.
School heads say that the pandemic no longer bothers learners who have resorted to follow the MoH guidelines only when the teachers are around.
The Social Distance Headache in Schools
Both primary and secondary school heads have confirmed that enforcing the Covid-19 protocols is an uphill task since the majority of the leatnets have dropped their arsenal.
It is only three weeks now since the partial reopening of schools and the coronavirus scare is no longer an issue among learners, with reports indicating that learners have returned to their normal school life which encompasses socializing, walking in groups etc.
CS Magoha Set to Hold a Crisis Meeting Next Week to Chat the Path towards full school reopening
This comes even as Education Cabinet Secretary ProfessornGeorge Magoha said plans are underway to convene another stakeholders’ meeting next week to discuss the fate of other learners who are still at home.
“We are going to meet as stakeholders soon and as government and when time comes we may have to be bold enough to tell you when the rest of schools shall open,” said Magoha.
Magoha further added that even with Covid-19 infections surging, the government is considering opening schools for the rest of learners.
“Yes, Covid is spiking and it is not only in this country. What we are grappling with is whether to open for the other children or not,” said Magoha.
The Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (Kessha) Chair Kahi Indimuli reported that most learners are neither routinely washing their hands nor wearing masks with the seriousness they did when schools were reopened.
Learners no longer observing social distancing guidelines
It has also emerged that the social distancing guideline is no longer being observed since learners have reverted back to their old habits.
“These learners now think that after two weeks in school without any infections they are now good to go and can overlook some guidelines,” said Indimuli.
Consequently, teachers are now having a hard time trying to enforce the social distancing rules among learners in schools.
“Most learners are not wearing face masks, they do not care so much about proper use and hygiene of the masks and they also do not wash hands as frequently as it were before and this is a the new challenge in schools,” said Indimuli.
In boarding schools, children are no longer observing social distancing in their dormitories or classrooms.
“In the absence of teachers these learners just interact as if it is back to normal,” said another school head.
These disturbing revelations come at a time when the virus is wreaking havoc with some counties such as Nakuru experiencing an acute shortage of ICU beds for Covid 19 patients.
Primary school heads also expressed concerns of ill preparedness to handle Covid-19 as the numbers continue to surge.
Kenya Primary Schools Head Teachers Association (Kepsha) Chairman Nicholas Gathemia said schools are yet to be provided with mitigation measures to handle challenges.
Gathemia said teachers have not been sensitised well enough on management of Covid-19 in schools.
“This poses a high risk to both the teacher, parents and learners daily,” he said.
According to the ministries of Health and Education, schools are expected to monitor Covid-19 symptoms by checking temperatures of students often and looking for signs such as coughing, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, chills, muscle ache and headache.
Kepsha said primary schools have for a long time been overlooked and discriminated in disbursement of free education funding, which has stagnated at Sh1,470 per pupil annually for almost 20 years.
According to Gathemia, this money is paid in three phases and comes late in the term.
“This hinders early preparation for teaching and learning and at the end results in under covering of the syllabus,” he said.
Experts warned that re-closing schools means returning children to the possibility of community infections and uncertainty over scheduled March examinations and transition of the learners.
Even though recalling the rest of learners to schools will guarantee transition to next classes and help manage many social ills such as drug abuse and early pregnancies, the fear of infections in schools is also real.
But teachers who spoke to the Saturday Standard said children are safer in school.