As Kenyan schools prepare to reopen in mid-October, an MP has called for a phased reopening approach to achieve social distancing.
Thika MP Patrick Wainaina said the first phase should only allow classes five to eight to avoid overcrowding in classes to avert the spread of Coronavirus pandemic at the institutions.
He said phased reopening would allow the Ministry to monitor the trend of the pandemic in schools and act accordingly before the lower classes were allowed.
He however noted that the reopening has come at a good time when Covid-19 cases have gone down, and would rescue schools from financial collapse.
“Reopening of schools has come at a better time. However, I advocate for phased reopening to allow pupils to be able to maintain social distance. Some classes have more than 70 children and if they are allowed to reopen at once, then schools will be caught in trouble. We need our children to be safe, “said Wainaina.
He was addressing parents and the press in Thika town on Sunday.
On the Sh1.9 billion government allocation to Small and Micro Enterprises (SMEs) and artisans to supply locally assembled desks for primary and secondary schools, Wainaina welcomed the move saying it would ensure schools have enough desks.
He however called on the government to give the tenders of supplying the furniture to artisan groups rather than individual Jua Kali artisans, saying it would have a much higher impact.
He said Sh1.9 billion is not enough, but if used prudently can have a much higher impact on the welfare of the school going children.
“If you give a tender of supplying 100 desks to a group of 20 people, this money will have a higher impact than giving the same tender to one person. This is what the government should do to create jobs,” said the MP.
Meanwhile parents from Thika have welcomed the move by the Education Ministry to consider reopening of schools next month saying children had overstayed at home.
They however called on the government to ensure once schools reopen, no child is sent home for fees since life has been unbearable during the Covid-19 period.
“We can see that the Covid-19 curve has flattened and that there is no need to continue holding children at home any further. However, we appeal that if the schools reopen, principals should accept whatever fees parents pay since we are financially unsettled,” said Peter Njoroje, a parent.
By Muoki Charles