Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) has announced it will start undergraduate first year students’ online classes from Tuesday even as the university acknowledged it will have to limit physical learning even after schools re-open.
Vice Chancellor (VC) Victoria Ngumi however said first year and second year students will have to do online classes a little longer before being recalled to school for physical classes, due to social distancing challenges.
Speaking when the University Council visited the school to inspect its level of preparedness for reopening today, VC Ngumi said they will only admit third and final year students, while those at other levels will have to continue with their lessons online.
She said induction of first year students has been ongoing online, and that the students will be ready for lessons from tomorrow.
The VC said lecturers are well versed with online teaching and examination and called on the students to bear with the situation.
”At times, our classes hold over 90 students at once which should be reduced to 45 due to social distancing. If schools reopen, we are adequately prepared to handle only third and final year students,” she said.
Ngumi however said since the University is a Science, Technology and Innovation school, some students will need to physically be available as they need to use the laboratories for their practical lessons and other innovations.
She said other students, especially those registered under distance learning programmes have been undertaking online lessons all along, and were preparing to sit online exams.
On the preparedness to reopen, the VC said the institution had attained over 80 per cent of the MoH protocols needed by the Education Ministry to be able to reopen.
The VC said the school was benchmarking with other institutions locally and internationally to ensure they have the right infrastructure to prevent the spread of Covid-19 once schools resume.
She added that the school has suffered losses in the five months of the pandemic following end-of-school learning and examinations
“We shall invite the Council again and then the Ministry of Education officials so that they can clear the University to reopen. We have done a lot to have the school re-opened,” she said.
University Council Chair Dr. Gamato Ukur Yattani said they were impressed with the level of preparedness by the school.
She said sanitizer booths have been fixed at the university’s main gate and several hand washing points set up at strategic points. The school has manufactured hand sanitizers and face masks for its students.
”The council is satisfied with the progress the university has made to attain the health protocols. Already classes have been spaced well enough to attain social distancing, there are enough sanitizers and face masks for all the students,” she said.
By Muoki Charles