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Low turnout as schools re-open a second day (Photos)

By Betty Njeru | January 5th 2021 at 10:28:44 GMT +0300

Learners across the country are reporting to school and resuming classes for a second day, amid growing concerns of hygiene and safety.  

Students in private primary and some secondary schools are also reporting today.

A spot check by The Standard this morning revealed a grim situation in some schools as learners were forced to seek shelter at an unfinished construction site- that will also serve as their classroom for the day.

Pupils at Ogenya Primary School in Nyando were relocated to a new site after their school was submerged. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

Ministry officials led by Education and Water Cabinet Secretaries George Magoha and Sicily Kariuki are respectively conducting tours in Nyeri and Kiambu counties to assess the schools’ state of preparedness.

Magoha: “We have noted low turnout in the Coast and Northeastern regions but we are working on it. We are also aware of the feeding programme and are working on it to ensure that children who are attracted to school because of food can go back.”

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His PS Belio Kipsang urged teachers to act as models to students by wearing masks properly, saying students will be strict or lax with the regulations on facemasks depending on how the teachers behave. “You must wear masks properly and wash your hands as frequently as possible to protect yourselves, fellow students and teachers and your parents,” Kipsang said.

The PS added that the Ministry had released Sh15 billion to secondary schools to meet the Free Day Secondary Education (FDSE) expenses, saying schools should access the money as it had been credited to their accounts.

Speaking in Mombasa on Tuesday, Education CAS Zack Kinuthia told KTN News that the Ministry was concerned with the low turnout of pupils in private schools.

Kinuthia asked parents and guardians to bring their children to school, lest they would be knocking on their doors demanding to know their status.

“Children must be brought to school, it is no longer negotiable,” he said.

The CAS said the ministry estimates that all learners will have resumed classes by the end of the week, as they gather to trace those who are yet to go back.

Education Ministry has also warned parents who decline to return their kids to school risk being arrested and prosecuted.

Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir noted that they had witnessed a higher turnout in some schools compared to others in the Coastal region.

“We are doing better in some areas. This should be a collective responsibility of both parents, teachers and the community,” he echoed.

The re-opening, coming amid a raging coronavirus pandemic continues to raise concerns on the health and safety of learners.

Schools are welcoming students back with limited learning resources, as they are required to comply with Covid-19 protocols of handwashing and sanitisation, social distancing and wearing of masks.

Experts have also expressed worry on children with special needs and pre-existing conditions, asking that schools limit visitors to ensure the safety of learners.

Starehe Girls students resume school. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

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