As primary and secondary schools, re-opened, Machakos Health County Executive in-Charge (CEC) of Health Dr. Ancent Kituku Nzioka assured Machakos residents of their Children’s safety and that of the whole school fraternity and community at large.
Speaking in Machakos Tuesday , the CEC pointed out that the Ministry of Health has ensured that Covid 19 protocols are put in place in a concerted effort to contain the pandemic.
“As schools reopened Monday, I know we are all anxious especially on the safety of our children regarding Covid-19,” said Dr. Nzioka.
“Mine is to reassure the pupils / students, parents, teachers, support staff and the general public that realistic measures have been put in place to ensure Covid-19 prevention protocols are in place,” he said.
The CEC called on all stakeholders to ensure that school children, teachers and school support staff have their masks worn properly, frequently wash their hands with soap and water in addition to striving to maintain social distancing as applicable and observe respiratory hygiene.
“Machakos County, the department of health and emergency services in tandem with the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders have put in place measures to ensure schools are safe for reopening,” he said.
“These include: Covid-19 surveillance, contact tracing, mental health interventions, quarantine, testing, isolation and management, decontamination of schools where applicable,” said Dr.Nzioka.
He pointed out that schools have been linked to the Ministry’s health facilities in the event any schoolchild, teacher or support staff shows any symptoms or signs of Covid-19 for immediate intervention.
Dr. Kituku further re-assured the residents that Machakos county ambulances are on standby to pick and stabilize and refer anyone who might require hospital care.
The Health Expert said over the last one month, the country seems to have flattened the second Covid-19 wave in Kenya.
“In Machakos County for instance, we have consistently recorded less than five new Covid-19 cases daily over the last 30 days on testing an average of 100 people daily,” said Dr. Nzioka.
He assured all parents that most school going children have good immunity and those who contract the Covid-19 virus are asymptomatic or only show mild symptoms.
The Health Expert further called on everyone to remain optimistic, observe all the Covid-19 prevention measures and keep praying to overcome this pandemic.
Schools were closed indefinitely in March last year due to Covid-19, three months after the school calendar had begun.
Speaking while issuing the January 4, 2021 school re opening calendar in Mid-November last Year, Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha announced that schools would be reopened after meeting requirements set by the Ministry of Health.
However, in the new directives, the CS directed that all teachers aged 58 years and above have to stay at home in line with the President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive to protect the vulnerable.
Kenya joins Rwanda and Uganda in the East African circuit to reopen schools after a seven months break due to the pandemic.
In October, the Kenyan government had allowed phased reopening with students of Grade 4, Standard 8 (primary school finalists) and Form 4 (secondary school finalists) reporting back to school.
The government-run Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development has also been providing school programmes via the radio, television and online to cover the syllabus. However, many learners do not have access to technology to enable them access the lessons.
By Rachael Kilonzo