Let us adopt a school and give support against Covid
By Cornel Amoth Rasanga | April 30th 2021
As schools re-open in early May, it is incumbent upon the nation to reflect on what awaits us in the new term as Covid-19 rears its ugly head under new and unpredictable strains.
Questions linger on the safety of our children in light of the growing numbers in virus infection. Something needs to be done. Not because nothing is being done, but because more must be done to address these safety concerns.
Despite criticism, it is a fact that both the National and County Governments can do more and are doing a lot already to boost the capacity of the country and the counties to provide more oxygen facilities, more and better-equipped isolation units, adequate personal protection equipment and enforcement of World Health Organisation protocols.
Yet these are not enough. This is then where the role of the individual is required. Apart from observing the protocols as recommended by the authorities, individuals can adopt schools, particularly their Alma Mater, against Covid-19.
Former students of various primary and secondary learning institutions can go back to their formal schools and come together to support the current school population with face masks, handwashing facilities, desks to promote social distance or sessions to sensitise them on basic hygiene measures.
Siaya County has piloted this in the last term and registered great success. Major lessons were drawn from the process that could be useful as we reopen the schools.
The development of a county-level multi-sectoral adoption committee bringing together national and county government leadership is a very important initial step to coordinate the adoption activities at that level.
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Such a committee should have a secretariat established to help with development of database and monitoring of the coordination process.
The next stage would then be to review the database of all schools in the county and their population. These schools must further be classified based on their vulnerabilities.
Data collection and analysis tools need to be then developed to help track the adopters and their contributions for purposes of acknowledging the work they are doing and providing them with the much needed publicity.
Significantly, those in level county leadership should lead as examples by being the first adopters of their former schools or vulnerable schools as identified and proposed by the County Adoption Committee.
With the above in place, it is then time to officially launch the adoption process at the sub-county or ward levels across the county simultaneously.
Within the same day or week, all first response adopters troupe back to their schools with their support around the same time across the whole county. These launch events must be provided with maximum publicity in all social, electronic and print media to call to attention the start of these adoption activities. The messaging across the board during these adoption events must be choreographed to emphasise patriotism as the driving force towards the adoption activities.
Messages must also target alumni with possible lists of established alumni developed by the school for purposes of tracing.
Beyond the drama and razzmatazz around the launch, subsequent adoption activities must then be given even more media coverage and limelight to encourage others to adopt. The management and coordination of the process must by this time have been devolved to the schools. Importantly, non-governmental institutions, cooperates and such other partners need to be brought on board to participate in the adoption process.
Of course there will be the challenge of independent adopters not being easily traceable thereby making data follow-up a tedious task, but this can continuously be improved as adoption takes root.
Members of the public are also very interested in the role that the government is playing so far even as they spearhead appeal for individuals’ support.
Both the National and the County Governments need to continuously explain to the public what the real needs are, what bit they are taking care of and the gap they need help with against Covid-19 even while asking members of the public to adopt schools. Let’s adopt schools against Covid-19.
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