The Education Task-force selected by Education CS Prof George Magoha to advise on school reopening has now settled on October 19th as the date for reopening of all basic institutions of learning The Task-force will present its report officially to the Education CS on Monday.
The experts have recommended phased reopening of the primary and secondary schools with phase one reopening to take place in October 19th and to include class seven and eight as well as form three and four classes. The Task-force Phase two reopening recommends Pre-primary one and two, Grade one to three, Standard five and six and finally Form one and two classes to resume learning in November 2nd. The stakeholders also had another alternative proposal which is to reopen schools for all classes this October 19th and monitor programmes and health concerns thereafter.
However during the stakeholders meeting at KCD buildings Nairobi, the cS had said school reopening date will be known after a mega stakeholders meeting on September 25th. On Friday Prof George Magoha said that teachers should start preparing to report to their schools as the ministry prepares to receive the report on Monday froma taskforce established earlier this week to look at preparedness of learning institutions.
Addressing the media after assessing the preparedness of Mawego Technical Training Institute in Homabay County, the CS said that from his personal observation, Covid-19 curve has started to flatten.
“From what I have observed, the curve is flattening and as a ministry we are in the process of relooking at our systems so that to get prepared. The report for technical and vocational institutions is ready and on Monday we will wait to receive the other reports from the taskforce and take them to another level for consideration before a concrete decision can be made,” Prof Magoha said.
“Teacherscan start to prepare to report back to their schools to make them habitable before students report. And at that time, we will have phased re-opening with priority given to exam classes. In fact technical colleges are likely to re open soon,” he said. Schools were closed in March after the first case of Covid-19 was confirmed in Kenya, and the government had set January 2021 as the date for re-opening Earlier this week the Ministry issued health guidelines for safe reopening of schools. In the 50-page document highlighting the guidelines, institutions will be required to develop policies and procedures suitable in their own environment to enablesmooth reopening of the institution.
Also, learning institutions will have to adjust timetable and learning pedagogy to ensure coverage of syllabus without straining learners. Every school will have to map an emergency health facility that is within 10 km and collaborate with County government to have some health personnel assigned to the institution for regular health monitoring and sensitizations. For boarding schools, social distancing must be observed with double-decker beds having a one metre distance between occupants.
‘learning institutions should have adequate, clean and well maintained toilets at a ratio of 1 door to 25 girls and 1 door to 30 boys with a urinal. Toilets should be disinfected three times a day,” the guidelines read in part.
Learners will also be required to observe a one- metre social distancing in classes and laboratories. Furniture should be cleaned and disinfected daily. Institutional food handlers and cleaners will be required to have personal protective equipment including gloves, apron and facemasks. Also, all the food handlers should have the requisite food handling certificates and in addition be screened for Covid- 19 symptoms before being allowed to handle food.
“All food handlers shall undergo a symptomatic screening for Covid -19 on a daily basis; those with symptoms of Covid -19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties, fatigue) should be allowed to seek medical attention,”the guidelines add. Fields shall be appropriately marked to ensure learners/trainees play different games that avoid touching or holding.
Swimming should be halted in all educational institutions until the Covid-19 risk is at lowest level as shall be guided by the Ministry of Health. Assemblies, inter institution competitions including games, drama, music,sports and other events that create crowded conditions shall be suspended for the time being. Institutions will hold class mini-assemblies to pray, pass health messages and make announcements.
“Activities that involve physical contact will be substituted by other activities that allow for safe physical distancing. There shall be no gymnastics at all institutions level for the time being until advised by MoH” added the Ministry. “Availability of water remains crucial to support personal hygiene including drinking and hand washing with soap as a key preventivemeasure. Water should also be available for regular cleaning, laundry and other purposes,” adds the Ministry.
Learners, trainees and non- teaching staff temperatures shall be taken every day and records maintained.
All authorized visitors to the institution will have their temperatures taken and recorded. The records will include full names, telephone numbers and place of residence. The institution may share the information with Ministry of Health for purpose of contact tracing if need arises. Any person with temperature reading 37.s °C and above will not be allowed to enter the institution. In the event a Covid-19 case is detected, the information should be communicated immediatelyvia established communication structure and there should be an immediate closure of the institution based on Ministry of Health advice to curb further spread of the virus.
“Any institution that does not implement these guidelines on social distancing and hygiene protocols as outlined to ensure safety and health of learners, trainees and staff will not be allowed to provide education services until when the necessary plans are put in place” the document undersigned by Education PS Belio Kipsang concludes.