NAIROBI, Kenya – The planned reopening of Kenyan institutions of learning will remain on hold as the education ministry explores modalities of ensuring COVID-19 prevention protocols can be enforced in strict conformity with health ministry guidelines.
Speaking on Monday, after closing a day-long National COVID-19 conference, that brought together various stakeholders including County Governors and foreign envoys, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta directed Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha to issue a revised 2020 academic calendar once stakeholders agree on how schools will reopen.
The president insisted that the date for resumption of in-person learning should not bother Kenyans arguing that the real elephant in the room was how learners were going to remain safe in crowded schools.
“As we progressively de-escalate the containment measures and resume a sense of normalcy on education, our paramount consideration both as a government and as parents is the safety and the well-being of our children,” said Uhuru Kenyatta, adding that, “The lives and health of our children is not a matter of debate.”
The head of state said learning institutions should be reopened only when children’s safety can be sufficiently guaranteed.
“And here I really would plead with Kenyans – let us not focus ourselves on when schools will reopen but how shall these schools open in a manner that protects our children and protects their lives and their health,” the president said.
He urged Kenyans to first think about the children’s health and wellbeing, ading that the resumption of in-person learning must be predicated on strict adherence to the health protocols and guidelines as issued by the Ministry of Health.
The President also revealed that the country’s positivity rate had declined to 4.4 per cent, below the World Health Organization threshold of 5 per cent.
Six months since the first case of the disease was reported in Kenya, coronavirus has claimed 700 lives and left 38,168 others infected.