Kenyan schools reopen amid concern over COVID-19 flare-ups

File photo: VCG

Kenya commenced phased reopening of basic learning institutions on Monday amid concern over a spike in COVID-19 infections.

George Magoha, cabinet secretary at the Ministry of Education, said the government has put robust mitigation measures in place to ensure that the reopening of schools does not lead to such a spike.

"We are confident the resumption of in-person learning will continue without hitches and urge school administrators to ensure that anti-COVID-19 containment measures are adhered to by students and teachers," Magoha told a briefing in Nairobi.

The ministry of education said last week that schools will open their doors to an estimated 3 million grade-four, primary and high school finalists on Oct. 12 after more than seven months of closure meant to avert spread of the coronavirus.

Magoha said that elementary and high schools are required to adhere to the ministry of health guidelines on preventing the spread of the virus before resuming in-person learning.

"The schools must have a sanitation booth and thermo guns at the entrance to capture and record temperatures of students and teaching staff," he said. "All the classrooms and dining halls must be readjusted to facilitate social distancing."

School administrators are required to compile a list of students with pre-existing conditions whose risks of succumbing to COVID-19 are higher, he said.

Magoha said that success of in-person learning for grade-four, primary and secondary school finalists will inform the decision to recall nearly 20 million students attending the country's basic learning institutions.

"We will in due course make a decision on when to readmit all students," he said.

"The next two to three weeks will be critical in determining whether in-person learning can be conducted safely since the country is yet to overcome the COVID-19 crisis," he said.

The government will try to ensure that under-privileged learners are provided with face masks, clean water and detergents, Magoha said.

Kenya, the largest economy in east Africa, has in the last couple of days witnessed a spike in COVID-19 positivity rate amid concern that reopening of entertainment joints and flouting of public health guidelines by some are fueling new infections.