CONFIRMED: SCHOOLS TO REOPEN IN JANUARY 2021; HERE A
CS Magoha has announced plans to shelve the initial plan by the education ministry to reopen basic education institutions in September 2020.
This follows recommendations given by the education stakeholders in various consultative meetings.
Speaking at the KICD offices in Nairobi today, the CS also added that the KCPE and KCSE national exams will be pushed to the year 2021. Therefore, the entire 2020 academic year will be considered lost and written off.
Colleges and other tertiary institutions will however reopen in September 2020 if they meet the irreducible minimum for reopening.
The President has already accepted the recommendation presented by CS Magoha today.
Some of the irreducible minimum requirements for reopening include: Reducing physical contact between learners and schools should only reopen when the curve is flattened
Social and physical distancing is the most critical factor in ensuring the safety of learners but with the 100 per cent transition
Besides, all learning institutions must ensure proper use of sanitizers and regular hand washing.
The reason as to why schools can not be opened at this time is seen to be the rising curve of the corona virus patients in the country.
“Based on the rising trend, we agreed to shelve classes. The country will be severely affected as all other children will lose the year. It shall be impossible to achieve social distancing. In consultation with the Ministry of Health, stakeholders agreed that reducing physical numbers in classes will affect learning, schools should only resume if cases reduce consistently for 14 days and social and physical distancing is the most critical factor in ensuring the safety of learners, handwashing and using masks and monitoring temperature will be crucial too,” Magoha said.
KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion also affirmed that the unions have been deeply engaged in the schools’ reopening process and thanked the doctors for their input. He reiterated Magoha’s stance that schools be reopened once the curve is flattened.
He also urged all Kenyans to respect the decision pronounced by the CS today.
Nicholas Maiyo, the head of the Parents Association also said that the health and safety of our children is paramount.
“Since the figures are rising, parents feel that schools should reopen once the curve has flattened to ensure that schools are safe since it is impossible to achieve social distancing at the moment” said Maiyo.
He also presented parents’ suggestion that the year 2020 be written off and learning to resume in the year 2021.
Macharia, the new CEO Speaking at the KICD offices today also backed up Magoha’s plan to reopen schools in 2021. She noted that teachers are a critical resource within the education system whose safety cannot be simply ignored.
“For a successful reopening of schools, the safety of teachers and learners must be ensured. Teachers are also individuals and parents, therefore they will need psychosocial support as they report back to work,” said Dr. Macharia.
She also said that the Commission will have to find a way of ensuring the safety of teachers who are 58 years and above and those having underlying conditions before schools reopen.
She further noted the biting teacher shortage in the country which is a big challenge even if classes will resume for candidate classes
“We were part and parcel of the entire process of the committee set up to come with regulations and it is imperative to prepare adequately to open. We agree and concur with all Magoha has stated. The burden to manage our health system will be enormous. It would be wrong to open soon,” Misori stated.
“We urge and call all parents to ensure that our children are safe until when they resume learning. Magoha’s decisions are in the best interest of the country and stakeholders, parents and students,” Sossion added.
A parents representative at the meeting added that parents had wished to have the education calendar in 2020 postponed. He assured parents that they would sit down with the Ministry to discuss on how the school fees issue would be addressed.
On Monday, July 6, while announcing the reopening of the country, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed Education CS George Magoha to notify the public on the resumption of the 2020 Academic Calendar for Basic Education and Tertiary Institutions.
The CS had earlier on stipulated several directives to curb the spread of the virus in schools with centre focus on teachers, infrastructure and the number of students per class. Magoha detailed that teachers will be tested for Covid-19 ahead of the resumption of studies.
The teachers were asked to report to their schools two weeks before the reopening date. The maximum number of learners in a classroom would be between 15 and 20 with each learner provided with two masks. All schools would also be equipped with thermo guns to aid in determining the temperatures of all individuals who will be seeking access to learning institutions
The new calendar comes amid a backdrop of a back and forth decision by the CS on the reopening of schools. Magoha had advised the President against the reopening of schools on September 1, arguing that Coronavirus cases had spiked. He had also hinted at pushing National Exams to April 2021 and also pushing studies to resume in January 2021 with emphasis on the safety of students.