Machakos Boys and Machakos Girls high schools have won accolades from the government in regard to their Covid-19 prevention preparedness.
Transport PS Solomon Kitungu and his Defense counterpart Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim Mohamud, while addressing the press on the sidelines of a visit to the two learning institutions Thursday, said they were impressed by elaborate measures they had put in place to curb any possible spread of the virus within their premises.
Kitungu said among the things the team is assessing is how schools are coping with the additional number of students, who began reporting back early this week after being at home since March last year.
They were checking on availability of clean running water for handwashing purposes, sanitizers, additional learning facilities and spacious sleeping quarters to help address the challenge of social distance.
“Generally I think we are very satisfied with what we have seen in those two schools. A lot of measures have been taken to prevent the spreading of Covid-19. By the time the children are coming back to school they are also being checked in one of the facilities being manned by nurses,” he said.
Kitungu said the team will from Friday be visiting selected schools within Kathiani and Matungulu sub counties to assess the situation on the ground and see whether there were any gaps that needed to be addressed.
Asked whether the government was particularly keen in seeing schools fully follow the Ministry of Health protocols in light of the prevailing constraints, the PS said individual institutions were required to customize the government regulations in accordance to their capabilities.
The Transport PS said this was borne out of the fact that the majority of schools especially those in far flung areas may not necessarily be in a position to duplicate what their better equipped counterparts were doing owing to a variety of reasons including lack of funds.
“It is these protocols that they were supposed to customize. For instance, like here in Machakos Boys the principal has shown us their protocols and they are following them,” he explained.
On his part, the School Principal Kahi Indimuli said they were forced to bring in professional nurses to assist teachers in checking the health status of the reporting students and also help deal with any emergency that may arise.
He said owing to the large number of students who were expected back to school, the management of the institution in consultation with parents decided to hire the medical workers in order to relieve the burden from the staff who are inexperienced in handling matters health.
“There was an agreement between parents and the school management because we felt that as the students come in we needed professionals who could quickly identify and support where there is a problem .That is why we felt with 1,600 students, eachers cannot be able to do a very effective job and that they needed some kind of support,” said Kahi, who also doubles as the chair of both the Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (KESSHA) and Africa Confederation of Principals as well as Council member of the International Confederation of Principals.
Others present during the visit included Machakos County Commissioner Fredrick Ndunga and the County Director of Education Shamsha Adan.
An estimated 16 million Kenyan children started streaming back to class from Monday after staying at home from March last year when the country recorded its initial cases of Covid-19.
However, concerns still linger countrywide over safety of students, teachers and other members of staff owing to inadequate learning facilities in most schools making social dance a headache for the government.
By Samuel Maina