Kenya re-opened schools Monday after a long break occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic that forced closure in March.
The Education Ministry allowed learners in Grade 4, Standard 8 and Form 4 to start reporting to school for physical learning, as parents await to known when other classes will resume.
The schools were reopened under tough measures which include social distancing in class, wearing face masks and having water at designated points for washing hands.
“We are back, but the Covid-19 protocols must be followed,” said Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha on a tour of schools in Kibra in the capital Nairobi, “teachers must ensure that the learners are well protected and they have masks on.”
Magoha said it was the responsibility of teachers to ensure hygiene measures are maintained, through hand-washing in all schools.
He also directed headteachers to identify and compile a list of all learners with preexisting conditions.
“That is very important because it will help to know who has a preexisting condition so as to get special COVID-19 attention,” he said.
During the long Covid-19 break, the rate of early pregnancies among learners who were at home was identified as a major concern across the country.
And as schools resumed physical learning, Magoha said no girl will be denied a chance to resume studies because of pregnancy.
“They are all welcome back to continue with their studies,” he said, even as he warned that perpetrators will face the law.
The schools were reopened to enable preparations for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations which will commence on March 22, 2021 and end on March 24, 2021, while KCSE exams will start on March 25, 2021 and end on April 16, 2021.
“Although physical distancing will remain a challenge, it should not be used as a bottleneck to keep any child away from school,” Magoha said.
Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang raised concerns that some learners were reporting to school without marks, and urged parents to comply with the Covid-19 protocols.
“Masks are a must for all learners and teachers,” Kipsang said, “so children should not be allowed to stay without masks.”
Magoha has said that the government will only provide free masks to the less fortunate learners.
“We will not be able to provide masks to every learner,” he said, “but we shall provide them for the less fortunate. Parents are encouraged to purchase the reusable masks for their children for safety.”