The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) has appealed to parents to back down on pressurising the government to reopen schools and colleges and instead advised them to put the health and safety of their children first.
The Bishops urged parents to wait for the directives from the relevant authorities managing the situation, saying that it would be imprudent children to go back to school when the pandemic is yet to be eradicated hence risking both students and staff in learning institutions.
Speaking on behalf of the Bishops, Embu Diocese Bishop Paul Kariuki Njiru advised families who are not able to access e-learning materials, televisions and radios during this time when children have been directed to do e-learning at home, to spend the time to learn through storytelling, reading, completing assignments and revising school work.
Bishop Njiru who celebrated Sunday Mass at Holy Family Basilica in Nairobi attended by the Head of Catholic Church in Kenya, Cardinal John Njue, further said that as shepherds they understand the anxiety parents have, especially those with candidates regarding their prolonged absence from school.
He reminded parents that their homes are the first schools, and urged them to use the opportunity to inculcate in their children values that will help them become responsible citizens.
“Indeed, it is at home that the earliest lessons in life are planted and nurtured, it is at home where virtues are cultivated, various lessons and dignity are learnt. This is where the children are in remedial and real school,” stressed Bishop Njiru.
The prelate at the same time noted that since children are spending countless numbers of hours online, parents should take the responsibility of training their children to be responsible digital citizens.
Regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, Bishop Njiru appealed to Kenyans to welcome people who have recovered from the disease in their families and communities with love instead of stigmatising them.
“As Bishops we are appealing to Kenyans to accept being tested for coronavirus as it is for your well being,” he added.
Bishop Njiru called on Kenyans to be true patriots by coming together for unity of purpose in order to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic through observing guidelines given by the Ministry of Health such as frequent hand washing, sanitising, observing social distancing, wearing face masks and staying at home.
“As you all know the more you observe these measures, the more effective our fight against the pandemic will be, and sooner we are likely to go back to normalcy,” said Bishop Njiru.
He said the Catholic Bishops appreciate the efforts of the church, government, Non-governmental Organisations and individuals of goodwill who are in the forefront in combating the challenges of coronavirus, singling out health workers, security personnel and volunteers at all levels whom he said were self-giving and dedicated.
Bishop Njiru also called on Kenyans to be a beacon of hope to families that have lost their loved ones in the on-going floods, landslides and Covid-19 pandemic or through other causes, and to stand with those who may have lost their means of livelihood and those lacking food.
“We should support those who are on the verge of losing hope by engaging in works of charity towards our neighbours,” urged Bishop Njiru.
In his remarks, Cardinal Njue urged leaders in the country to stop bickering over petty issues and solve their differences amicably.
“Kenyans should pray for unity to continue prevailing in the country and for our leaders that God touches their hearts as on-going wrangles are not good for the country,” said Cardinal Njue.
By Bernadette Khaduli