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Spike in coronavirus infections call for more vigilance in school

By Editorial | October 18th 2020 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

The government anticipates that all learners will fully resume classes by next month. Accordingly, school managements have been instructed to make adequate arrangements to support full resumption of learning.

The first batch reported to school on Monday last week to a slow start marked by infrastructure challenges that, in a big way, thwarted compliance with Covid-19 safety protocols. Schools in rural areas were most affected.

The Grade 4, Standard Eight and Form Four learners reported back to school for 11 weeks of second term. They will break on December 23 for only a week after which they will start third term in January.

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The decision to reopen was tricky and required a careful balancing act between safety and need to salvage the academic year.

It also came with a fresh headache for many parents who couldn’t afford fees and other requirements due to tough times occasioned by Covid-19 shocks.

Surveys across counties confirm many schools have limited classrooms, inadequate desks and toilets. Add to lack of sanitisers, running water and face masks and you have a crisis awaiting the 12 million learners in 23,000 primary schools and 8,000 secondary schools.

Having studied the situation obtaining in the first week, we warn against rushed decisions at a time experts are raising the red flag over a spike in Covid-19 numbers. Let there be an adequate logical assessments and consultations.

As the country gradually re-opens, there are concerns of a possible second wave. From the 611,552 samples tested as of Friday, the number of confirmed cases stood at 43,580. It should be noted that just a paltry 1.3 per cent of the population has been tested.

If the Education ministry deems it safe to recall the remaining classes, let there be a clear roadmap. Grey areas at this point in time will only deepen the uncertainty surrounding the new school calendar. Over and above, resources are required to achieve safety. The government must dig deeper into its pockets.

Besides the capitation funds and the Sh1.9 billion under the Economic Stimulus Programme set aside to procure locally assembled desks, let there be a sustainable method of eliminating all the hitches schools face.


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