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Public Health officials order closure of a Teso North school

Teso North Public Health boss James Simiyu (right in glasses), St. James Osia head teacher Jared Olubai (in a Kaunda suit) and parents inside one of the classrooms set for demolition.

A primary school in Busia County has been closed indefinitely over poor sanitation and dilapidated classrooms.
Teso North Public Health Officials led Sub County boss James Simiyu ordered St. James Osia Primary School head teacher to discontinue learning until the required hygiene standards were met.
Simiyu told a meeting that brought together the school’s administration and parents that their interest was to ensure pupils and students in all schools within their jurisdiction were accorded a favourable learning environment.
He said his department would not compromise on hygiene standards revealing that the affected school was first issued with a closure notice on 24th May 2017 but failed to comply.
“This school has 446 pupils but surprisingly, the boys and girls are sharing a two-door pit latrine which is almost sinking hence most pupils are forced to relieve themselves in the neighbouring farms. Its semi-permanent classrooms occupied by grades 2 and 3 and standard 4 pupils are in deplorable state and can collapse anytime posing a great danger to the learners,” Simiyu disclosed.
Public Health Officer in charge of school health in the sub county Napoleon Nyongesa who read the closure letter to the meeting warned the school head and the Board of Management chairman against disobeying the directive saying they risked prosecution.
The letter demanded that the dilapidated classrooms be brought down, the pit latrine be demolished and be replaced with seven standard compartment sanitary facilities and a urinal for boys and eight standard compartment sanitary facilities for girls.
The school’s head teacher Jared Olubai and the Board of Management chair Gabriel Ambuchi admitted the state of the school was as indicated in the letter and they would comply with the directive.
Ambuchi noted that their attempts to seek for financial aid to help in improving the school’s infrastructure from the Education Ministry and the local leadership have been futile since 2017 when the first closure notice was issued.
St James Osia becomes the second school to be closed in the sub county due to poor hygiene conditions in a span of one month after Kidek primary school was also closed recently.
By Melechezedeck Ejakait

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