It’s all systems go as schools set to reopen

Education CS George Magoha at Nakuru Girls High School in Nakuru on June 18, 2020. [Kipsang Joseph/Standard]

All learning institutions used as Covid-19 isolation centres should be vacated and disinfected before teachers report on Monday.

In a letter to the Ministry of Health, Basic Education PS Belio Kipsang wants the cleaning done in time to allow teachers to prepare for the reopening of schools.

“Aware that public schools were used both as quarantine and isolation facilities, we are requesting that these schools are vacated and fumigated by September 28 to enable the school heads to prepare for eventual reopening,”  Kipsang said in a September 21 letter to Health PS Susan Mochache.

Keeping teachers

Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers secretary general Akello Misori shared similar sentiments saying: “Let us start by keeping teachers safe and disinfect the schools before they report on Monday.”

This came as the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) instructed teachers to prepare schemes of work, lesson plans and class timetables as soon as they report.

“Develop innovative strategies and mechanism for curriculum implementation while upholding the Ministry of Health guidelines and protocols for the containment of the spread of Covid-19, including social distancing, regular hand washing, use of sanitiser and the wearing of masks,” TSC chief executive officer Nancy Macharia said.

Macharia also wants teachers to work with stakeholders and ensure classrooms, dormitories, offices and other amenities are cleaned thoroughly before children report.

“There must be proper sharing of duties and responsibilities among teachers while making efforts to protect staff with underlying conditions,” she said in a September 21 circular to regional, county and sub-county education directors.

Meanwhile, the Kenya Private Schools Association said teachers who will not report on Monday will be deemed to have quit their jobs.

“We have hit the ground running and we shall only work with teachers who will have reported. Those who fail will be replaced. Preparation for opening is elaborate and requires everyone on board,” said association chairperson Mutheu Kasanga 

She said the association has discussed with landlords to allow teachers to occupy their houses ahead of opening. “Even though we shall not resume with full salaries as this will be dependent of payment of fees, we have negotiated with house owners to accommodate our staff as we wait for things get better,” Kasanga said.

Covid-19 response committees will be formed in each school during the first week after reopening.

Education CS George Magoha had only said schools will open soon. However, there have been reports learning could resume a week after teachers have reported back.

At the same time, teachers have been asked to develop strategies to enable them to offer psychological support to learners and parents.

Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary General Wilson Sossion pleaded with teachers to do everything possible to help the children settle back in school.

Endured challenges

“Teachers should be more sensitive when handling learners. Some of them have endured challenges, including gender-based violence, during the period they have been home,” Sossion said.

“Some of the children have lost parents and other loved ones while others have undergone trauma and it will take them time to adjust to school environment,” Sossion said yesterday during the launch of a gender-based violence sensitisation programme at the union headquarters.

Covid 19 Time Series