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School Not Ready For Reopening. Experts Say


Education stakeholders have advised the Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha to continue with caution in his schools reopening plans during this Covid-19 pandemic.

Professor Magoha noted on Monday that learning institutions may resume learning earlier than the original plan of 1st January 2020, following a recent drop in coronavirus infection cases. 

The Kenya Secondary Schools Association chairperson Mr Kahi Indimuli noted that for about six months of the COVID-19 pandemic period, safety protocols have not been achieved to guarantee the reopening of schools.

Mr Indimuli says the I preparedness of learning institutions especially public schools is due to lack of enough space to meet the 1.5-meter social distance rule.

He argues that learning institutions are stranded in their COVID-19Covid-19 precaution measures as they lack enough funds and resources to adjust their settings.

Mr Kahi believes that schools are still in the situation in which they were before the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March adding that the school heads don't know what to do.

The Kenya Primary School Heads Association (Kepsha) claims that the government has not done enough in preparing learners or welcome them back to class.

Kenya Primary Schools Heads Association chairman Mr Nicholas Gathemia noted that learning institutions have not yet received money for safety improvements adding that the salary situation non-teaching staff has financially paralysed the school's financial capabilities.

Mr Gathemia noted that it was very unfair to engage someone in work without paying them as it amounts to the human rights violation.

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The Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) head of Infectious Diseases Unit (IDU) Dr Loice Ombajo warned that resumption of learning without proper precaution measures in place could hurt efforts of flattening the coronavirus infection curve.

Dr Ombaji noted that safely reopening of schools is possible in a low coronavirus infection rate scenario and only when precaution measures have been considerably put in place.

The Kenyan medics have advised of face-to-face resumption of learning if only health protocols have been met to avoid the virus spreading among learners, teachers and non-teaching staff. Tanzania which was the first East African country to reopen schools declared that it was free from COVID-19.

Teachers Service Commission (TSC) data illustrates that at least thirty per cent of teachers in primary basic learning institutions are above the age of fifty(50) years of age hence stands a higher chances getting infected by the Covid-19 virus.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) which warned that continued school closure could lead to a serious negative impact on the children's future proposes a threshold of less than 5 per cent new positive infections rate suitable condition for reopening consideration. 

The Kenyan infection rate has currently dropped to less than 10 per cent according to last week's statistics.

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