A lobby group has called on Parliament to come up with a bill that compels the government to provide facemasks to students once schools reopen in January.
Maendeleo ya Wanaume, a lobby group that advocates for men rights said the current situation where the responsibility has been left to parents is unaffordable since most of them have been badly hit economically by Covid-19.
The organization’s Chairman Nderitu Njoka said Grade 4, class 8 and Form 4 parents have been suffering a lot to provide facemasks to their children almost each day as they attend school. He said in the schools they have visited, they have established that students who do not have facemasks are mostly sent home, until they afford the same.
“In other schools, students must have face masks that match their uniforms. Those without are sent home. Such discrimination against students from poor backgrounds should stop,” he said.
He was speaking in Kwa Ng’ethe Primary School in Kahawa Wendani, Ruiru constituency when he donated masks to over 500 pupils yesterday.
Njoka at the same time challenged the government to come clear over its preparedness as schools reopen amid concerns of congestion and the threat of Covid-19 infections. He feared there will be no social distance in many public schools as a result of a large population of learners and shortage of classrooms.
“For instance, this school has about 800 Class Eight and Grade 4 learners and they have already occupied all the classrooms, yet it has a total population of nearly 3,000. Where will the rest of the pupils study in,” he wondered.
He suggested that the reopening be done in phases to allow social distancing and minimize the risk of pupils getting infected by the deadly virus.
He also called on the government to consider placing orders for Covid-19 vaccine, before all classes open. “Once given vaccination, everything will return to normal. Therefore, placing orders for the vaccine should be the priority before considering reopening schools,” he said.
By Muoki Charles