A special school in Bureti has posted 95 per cent return to school by learners after reopening on January 4 following a nine months’ school break due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Speaking to KNA on Monday at his office, the head teacher of St. Kizito school for the deaf Mr. Stanley Rono said the return to school turnout was impressive and learners had embraced and accepted the wearing of the mandatory masks as protection against contracting the deadly corona virus.
“Currently the learners’ population from the time they opened in January 4, 2021, stands at 150 only seven are yet to report to school but will soon join the rest. We have 84 boys and 66 girls. All the 14 teachers and one Early Childhood teacher are happy to be back in school following months of enforced closure and the learners are all doing well in their studies. All our learners must wear their masks as demanded by the Ministry of Health and are now adopting to this new way of life while at the school,” said Rono.
He added that the school management had placed proper measures in place to avoid the risk of infection and spread of Covid-19 adding that the school has hand washing centers.
“Learning has been seamless from the day we resumed learning. The school is strict to ensure hygiene protocols are adhered by the teachers and the learners so parents should not worry about the safety of their children. All visitors and teachers as those who do not reside at the school undergo a temperature check at our school gate as well as washing their hands. All the learners are knowledgeable about the deadly Corona virus and we regularly talk to them on the need to keep exercising the mandatory hygiene measures,” he added.
“Social distancing was well addressed at the school which has six dormitories. We are addressing learners’ boarding needs adequately without any hitches being witnessed,” added Head teacher Rono.
However, Rono disclosed that it was mandatory that all deaf learners use masks to protect themselves from contracting Covid-19 adding that this was posing a serious impediment to learning as the deaf community communicates using gestures and signs with facial expressions and lip reading especially in a classroom set up.
A spot check by KNA confirmed the same when interacting with a section of the learners at the special school during their morning class break and noted the children could not communicate properly with this writer while wearing the masks as this hampered the use of facial expressions and lip reading.
The special school head said the learners are using the reusable or surgical face masks which were opaque and could not expose facial expressions and lip reading of the teachers to the learners while proposing the use of transparent masks for the deaf learners to overcome the challenge.
“The blocking of the mouth hampers lip reading and generally the learning process when the learners use the mandatory masks. The use of transparent ones would allow proper communication to take place,” said Rono.
The school established in 1985 is classified as special school boarding for both boys and girls and is located in Litein town, Bureti sub-county, Kericho and has eleven classes from PP1 to class 8 and its learners are aged between four to 20 years.
by Sarah Njagi