Magoha’s strict opening road map for schools
By Augustine Oduor
| July 26th 2020
The Ministry of Education is fine-tuning new guidelines that will encourage teaching and learning to take place outside classrooms and lecture halls when schools and colleges reopen.
In cases where learning must take place inside classrooms and lecture halls, schools will be required to ensure a one-metre distance between learners.
Teachers will be required to avoid physical contact with learners who will only be allowed regulated physical interaction that will be limited to one group.
The new draft guidelines demand complete social distance in classrooms, lecture halls, dormitories, halls of residence, libraries, workshops, dining halls and water points.
Boarding schools will be optional with parents encouraged to consider day schools for their children when learning resumes.
The following are some of the new guidelines that Prof Magoha’s team is refining.
All staff meetings must adhere to social distancing measures.
“Where possible, staff shall explore other ways of communicating such as memos, mobile chats, text messages and emails,” reads the document.
Break times shall be staggered to limit the number of teachers in the staff room and offices at any time.
All facilities will be required to have a pedal-operated waste collection bins with liners.
All classrooms, lecture halls, tutorial rooms and laboratories will be required to have proper ventilation.
In boarding schools, learners will not be allowed to share personal items such as slippers, shoes, clothes, towels, toothbrush, soap, shoe brushes and beds.
Dormitories and toilets
Head teachers will be required to ensure that dormitories are free from rodents, insects and other vermin.
All boarding facilities will be required to have adequate clean water for drinking, bathing, laundry and frequent washing of hands.
“Liquid soap and clean running water should be made available to learners at all times,” read the guidelines.
All learning institutions are expected to have adequate, clean and well-maintained toilets at a ratio of one for every 25 girls and one for every 30 boys with a urinal.
Girls’ toilets must have sanitary disposal bins.
All food handlers and cleaners will be required to have personal protective equipment.
Learners will be required to wash their hands thoroughly with clean water and liquid soap before and after eating.
Staggered eating shifts by classes or cohorts will be considered where learners population is high to avoid crowding in the dining hall.
There shall be no sharing of food and utensils. Utensils and cutlery shall be kept clean.
Schools will be required to implement staggered pick-up and drop-off times, with limited number of people at the institution.
While on board the vehicles, learners shall wear masks and sit at least one metre from each other.
Learners and staff will not be allowed to travel if they are feeling unwell and show Covid-19 symptoms, however mild.
“Where possible, elderly parents/caregivers of above 58 years should not pick up or drop off learners/trainees at education institutions,” the guidelines state.
School activities such as swimming, inter-institution competitions including games, drama, music, sports and other events that create crowded conditions will remain suspended.
Morning assemblies will also be suspended. Schools will only hold class mini-assemblies to pray, pass health messages and make announcements.
Safety and compliance
Overall, school managers will be required to ensure compliance to specified health requirements on social distancing, regular hand washing, fumigation and sanitising and disinfecting surfaces.
Learners, teachers and non-teaching staff will be required to wear masks at all times.
To enforce compliance, head teachers will be required to develop school-based guidelines on improving hygiene practices for learners, teachers and non teaching staff.
They will also be required to establish Covid-19 response committees consisting of not more than five members including one learner and a member of non-teaching staff.
To enhance cleanliness, schools will be required to clean and disinfect buildings and frequently touched surfaces such as desktops, door handles, switches, door frames and book covers.
School managers will be required to develop a programme for cleaning and use of grounds and facilities.
Head teachers will also be required to ensure adequate security and safety measures are put in place, including provision of a fence or barriers and guards to restrict entry and exit from learning institutions.
To implement these, head teachers will be required to revise and re-adjust budgets to prioritise addressing the impact of Covid-19.
They will also be required to provide clear communication to education institutions, parents and guardians on arrangements made for learners in boarding institutions.
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