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Covid-19: Schools urged to improve safety measures before reopening

Thursday July 02 2020
pupils

Pupils and teachers at Kagaki School in Nakuru town read Daily Nation pullout Juniorspot on February 3, 2020. PHOTO | FRANCIS MUREITHI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By FRANCIS MUREITHI

An educationist in Nakuru County has urged the National Covid-19 Education Response Committee set up by the Ministry of Education to explore all possibilities before allowing the reopening of schools.

Mr Samson Kiprop Maluei said that with the increasing cases of positive cases in the country, there is need to evaluate whether the situation on the ground has improved.

“The schools can only be reopened if the situation on the ground has improved and all the students and teachers and other non-teaching staff have been properly sensitised on the dangers of the deadly disease,” said Mr Kiprop.

At the same time Mr Kiprop urged the committee to establish whether the alternative mode of learning during the school closure was successful.

ONLINE LESSONS

The schools, which were opened on January 6, 2020, were closed on March 1 due to the pandemic. The learners had not completed their Term One syllabuses. This prompted teachers to adopt online lessons which has left out many learners due to lack of infrastructure.

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“This cannot be considered as an alternative model and should be ignored in totality,” he added.

He recommended that the schools should not be re-opened this academic year.

“All the learners should start afresh once the virus curve flattens. Class 8 and Form Four candidates should sit their exams after completing their syllabuses,” said Mr Kiprop.

He said schools should be properly fumigated before learning resumes.

“Teachers and non-teaching staff must also go through a thorough screening before they are allowed back to school. The institutions of learning must have an isolation centres,” he said.

SOCIAL DISTANCING

To ensure there is social distancing, the Ministry of Education must provide sufficient funding for extra infrastructure like dormitories and classrooms.

“The school management should also ensure there is minimal contact of members of the public with learners and teachers. Clear guidelines must be given to teachers, learners and subordinate staff on safety precautions especially in day schools,” he added.

Due to disruption of learning, he urged the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development to move with speed and develop in depth solutions to the shortcomings of the Competency Based Curriculum.

On higher education, he suggested that universities and other tertiary institutions should allow students who are writing their theses to do so provided health guidelines are followed.

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