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CS Magoha hints at schools reopening before January 2021

 Education CS prof George Magoha (Dennish Ochieng/The Standard)

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha has hinted that schools might reopen earlier than January 2021 if the number of COVID-19 infections keep decreasing as recorded in the past four days.

Speaking in Migori during one of his nationwide tours assessing the preparedness of learning institutions ahead of resumption of classes, CS Magoha said that learners could be allowed back in class earlier than anticipated if COVID-19 cases stagnate.

“You are aware the virus is starting to look like it is going to stagnate. We are saying should the situation change, we shall be ready and willing to look at the scenario once again in the interest of our children,” the CS said.

A couple weeks ago, when speaking to the National Assembly Education Committee, the tough talking CS maintained that most schools in the country were inadequately prepared to resume learning as they lacked infrastructure to enable physical distancing.

However, the CS now says that the Education Ministry is in the process of ensuring that all learners will be safe when learning resumes.

“As far as the government is concerned, ours is to open the learning institutions like yesterday.  The bottom-line is our children should be reasonably safe when they return. We are doing everything possible including ensuring that water sources and sanitizers are available. We are even in the process of providing masks where it is possible,” he said.

The remarks by the Education CS come hours after a parent went to court Tuesday 25th August seeking to compel the government to reopen learning institutions for third term. Mr Joseph Aura, a father of two, argues that learning is best done physically (in-person) and not virtually.

Mr Aura further wants the Education Ministry barred from implementing the community-based learning project. He also wants the court to compel the Health Ministry to facilitate reopening of play areas and recreational centres for children across the country.

“I have lodged this proceedings as a parent on behalf of my children and on behalf of millions of voiceless children enrolled similarly in learning institutions across the country.

“The oppressive psychological and mental torture inflicted on the school going children because of the open-ended closure of schools effected by the ministry from March till now has gravely injured the,” Mr Aura’s court documents read in part. 

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