The Ministry of Education has instructed all the boarding learning institutions to close and send students home within the next two days as has been directed by the Government.
Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha on Monday directed that learners in day schools remain at home as Government implements measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Prof Magoha (pictured) also directed that students in boarding schools be released in compliance with the order issued by President Uhuru Kenyatta Sunday.
“All educational institutions are instructed to ensure that all-day school learners remain at home until further notice. Boarding institutions have between Tuesday, March 17 and Wednesday, March 18, 2020, to ensure that learners are released from the learning institutions to their homes in an orderly manner that must ensure adequate social distancing to limit the potential of any exposure to COVID-19,” CS Magoha said in a statement.
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To address the safety of the students as they travel back to the homes, CS Magoha has ordered learning institutions to consider various measures and instructed school heads to communicate to the parents to pick up their children from school if possible.
The ministry has appealed to the schools to school-bus students to ensure that they do not use public service vehicles where they may contract the virus.
“Schools should make arrangements to use school buses to ferry learners to their homes or nearest designated drop off points which must be within proximate distance to be picked by their parents,” Magoha said.
The CS has asked the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to team up with schools so that students can get sanitised, cleaned vehicles which they will board alone without other passengers, and be dropped at designated points.
The ministry has called on the field officers to team up with National Government Administration Officers to ensure that learners are not stranded. Schools have been urged to provide learners with safety tips to avoid contracting the virus as well as keeping a record of those whom they interact with.
On Monday morning the University of Nairobi suspended teachings ahead of the release of students in compliance with Government directive. Other learning institutions are also expected to follow suit.
“The University has fully complied with the Presidential directive to suspend learning at all our campuses with immediate effect,” said UoN VC Prof Stephen Kiama in a statement.
On Sunday President Uhuru ordered the temporary closure of learning institution over the spread of coronavirus which has been noted in Kenyan borders.
The presidential directive came after Chief Justice David Maraga suspended foreign visits by members of the Judiciary as well as scaling down the court activities. Maraga, however, indicated that Judiciary staff would continue working on specific roles.
In his directive, Maraga said that prisoners and remandees would not be brought to court. He said that arrests would be made as usual but simple cases would be solved at the stations.
Also discouraged are the public and social gatherings like rallies, weddings or fundraisers which are considered dangerous grounds for infections.
Kenya confirmed two more cases bringing the number of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 to three. The patients are quarantined at Kenyatta National Hospital where they are receiving treatment.
Prof Magoha’s directive raises several issues.
With most schools having one or two buses, it is going to be a herculean task moving, say 1,000 students from a school to homes spread all over the republic. Or even to the nearest bus stations.
Sanitising public service vehicles is certainly welcome. The problem would be ensuring compliance and keeping the students away other people when journeys are broken, say for a snack.
And, what will happen during the final kilometres to their homes when the students will have to board other vehicles or bodabodas?