Schools may not be reopened in January, 2021, after all. According to the latest sentiments by Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha, schools have not met the minimum reopening requirements.
Magoha says social distancing in schools, as one of the ways to curb spread of covid-19, would be a herculean task considering the fact that schools lack adequate infrastructure.
“It could have been expected that enough money should have been made available, right now, so that we improve on infrastructure,” the CS told Members of the Education Committee of Parliament during a virtual meeting on Thursday August 8, 2020.
Magoha remained non-committal on whether schools will definitely reopen in January and the exact dates.
He said the current spike in daily covid-19 numbers would push reopening of schools further. The lack of vaccine to put the virus at bay may also defer initial reopening plans.
Magoha told the Legislators that the Ministry will try to improve infrastructure in schools using the available funds.
“We are going to improve on the infrastructure according to the amount of money that is made available to us,” he added.
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TOUGH REOPENING CONDITIONS.
Last month, CS Magoha released a draft report titled “Guidelines on Health and Safety Protocols for Reopening of Basic Education Institutions Amid Covid-19 Pandemic”. The report listed a number of requirements all schools will be required to implement before resuming classes.
Some of those measures, as stipulated in the report, are: ensuring constant availability of liquid soap, hand washing facilities, disinfectants, thermo-guns and face masks and enforcing their utilization.
Schools will be, at the same time, to upgrade their buildings, improve or install age, disability and gender appropriate hygiene facilities such as toilets and bathrooms to ease congestion.
The Senate Committee on Education, last month, asked Magoha to adopt a phased reopening calendar for schools; effective September, 2020.
After meeting Stake-holders, a fortnight ago, the CS announced his and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) will implement a community-based learning approach.
In the new model, teachers will be mapped with learners to offer learning at no cost. The TSC is expected to provide guidelines on the implementation of the programme; that is set to kick-off in September.
The CS has since postponed the reopening of TTCs, TVET and Universities for face to face sessions till January, 2020. The institutions were initially set for reopening in September.