Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha is confident that schools countrywide have complied with the laid down protocols preventing the spread of coronavirus in schools as they reopen
The CS in a multi-agency stakeholder’s media brief held today at Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), Nairobi said that the government has done everything possible and within their mandate to ensure that schools are ready to open come tomorrow
The CS who admitted that while adherence to the social distancing directive might be challenging asked parents to buy at least two re-usable face masks for their children to counter the spread of the virus.
“Social Distancing in schools is a hurdle we are working on. As a parent, ensure that you buy face masks for your child,” he said, even as he assured that the government will also step in and allocate the crucial item to schools which have needy children.
Magoha further noted that the government will provide 500,000 desks for schools in a move to ensure that there is adequate learning space for children, and called on teachers to be innovative in using the available spaces to achieve physical distancing.
He claimed that his infamous statement that “pupils can learn under the tree “was taken out of context, adding that what he meant was that schools can be creative into turning the available spaces to learning avenues for children.
“Trees are in fact safer especially during this time. Trees release oxygen when they use energy from sunlight to make glucose from carbon dioxide and water,” quipped Magoha during a multi sectoral media briefing.
On matters of school fees, the CS urged able parents to pay school fees for their children, and used the same breath to ask teachers to allow all children to school despite their fee status even as the government is working on modalities for financing very needy children.
“Those parents with children in boarding schools, please pay fees for your children. Just as they eat at home, so they must be fed in school,” the CS asserted in his usual characteristic self.
Present was Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe who was optimistic that the current low COVID positive numbers in the Country has given hope to parents even as the children go back to school.
“Lets us give hope as we open our schools tomorrow. We must focus on the positivity of our situation rather than always pointing on the negatives,” Kagwe urged the members of the fourth estate.
Kagwe noted, however, that just as pupils, teachers must ensure that they are also masked up, saying that the Ministry of Health has issued a raft of measures to ensure that the spread of COVID 19 is highly minimized.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia on his part observed that they have held consultative meetings with key stakeholders and put in place robust measures to ensure that the roads are accident free as pupils report back to school.
“All drivers will be tested for alcohol before they are behind the wheel. School bus drivers must not drive long distances and there will be no hiking of bus fares even as pupils report back to school tomorrow,”Macharia assured parents.
Other Cabinet Secretaries present were Interior CS, Dr. Fred Matiang’i, and ICT CS Joe Mucheru.
Learners in Grade 4, Class 8 and Form 4 students had resumed studies on October with those in Pre-Primary 1 and 2, Grade 1, 2, 3, Class Five, Six and Seven and those in Form One, Two and Three resuming classes for the first time tomorrow since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country in March 2020.
The resuming class will be in school for their second term until March 19 before proceeding on a seven-week break which will lapse on May 9.
During the holiday break, Class 8 and Form 4 candidates will sit for their Kenya Certificate of Primary Examination (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination (KCSE) respectively.
The third term will then begin on May 10 through to July 16. All the students will then begin a new school year calendar on July 26, 2021.
By Alice Gworo