Many institutions grapple with virus containment measures on second day of learning resumption

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020 00:00 |
Coronavirus containment measures.

Hundreds of schools across the country were yesterday grappling with myriad challenges as examination candidates reported for the second day following resumption of learning.

A survey by People Daily revealed that scores of schools were being forced to make do without basic Covid-19 containment measures put in place by the Ministry of Health.

For instance, hundreds of Standard Eight and Grade Four pupils in a school in Bungoma County, were forced to do without toilets, after they were all submerged during the long break caused by the Covid 19 pandemic.

Teachers and pupils at Wekelekha RC Primary School in Kanduyi constituency were shocked to find 11 toilets completely destroyed, when they reported back on Monday.

The school’s headteacher Margaret Mwangale said the institution was  staring at a crisis as pupils risk contracting cholera and other diseases if the situation is not rectified urgently.

Toilets destroyed

“Students have been forced to relieve themselves in the open and that is a time bomb waiting to explode.

We do not have toilets and this is a very dangerous scenario,” regretted Mwangale.

She called on Governor Wycliffe Wangamati and the area MP Wafula Wamunyinyi to intervene and assist in erecting modern toilets.

In Trans Nzoia, the County Education Board reported that close to 1,000 girls drawn from primary and secondary schools in the five sub-counties of Kwanza, Endebbes, Trans nzoia East, Endebes and Trans Nzoia West  hade turned up to resume learning while pregnant. 

One of the students from St Philip’s Grassland Secondary who is six months pregnant narrated her situation.

“I did not know I could find myself in this situation. I am totally confused now,” said the student, who spoke at the county children office in Kitale town.

 Trans-Nzoia Children’s coordinator Aston Maungu said the alarming situation is spread across all sub-counties and called upon stakeholders to help end the vice.

 He appealed to the various schools not to stigmatise the affected girls and asked parents and guardians to enrol the affected children for counselling.

“We have given a directive that the girls be counseled so that they do not give up even with the situation that has befallen them.

As a department, we will continue to offer them support until they deliver,” said Maungu

Trans-Nzoia County Commissioner Sam Ojwang assured that no teenage girl found pregnant will be sent away from school.

He said the girls between the ages of 15 and 19, will be allowed to proceed with their studies and warned that those culpable of impregnating the teenagers will face the law.

Water shortage

Trans Nzoia Woman Rep Janet Nangabo called for speedy investigations into the crisis, which seems to be on the rise threatening to deny the girl-child education.

“The alarming cases are an indication there is something wrong in this county and all stakeholders must stop this,” she said.

Trans-Nzoia Kenya National Union of Parents Association’s chairman Wellingtone Waliaula asked parents not to abdicate their roles of counseling their daughters and sons.

“Almost all the girls impregnated are day scholars. Parents should guide  their children on matters of morality rather than being too harsh on them,” he said

In Migori County, several schools experienced biting water shortage and dilapidated latrines.

Learning did not to kick off as expected in a majority of the schools as tutors were struggling to fetch water from nearby streams and did not have means of transport to facilitate the reopening exercise.

Most institutions registered poor turn out as learners were afraid of reporting to schools over lack of face masks, with a good number sent back to get one. 

At the Thika School for the Blind, only 11 out of 54 learners have so far reported.

The school head teacher Margaret Njoki Njuguna said she has been receiving numerous calls from parents explaining their difficult financial situation.

“I have been urging them to bring their children back to school as they look for the boarding fees later but the turnout is still very low,” she said.

Jane Kariuki, the curriculum support officer in charge of special schools in Thika blamed parents for discriminating against the special children.

“It is quite unfortunate that some parents take children with special needs as ‘any other business’ and are giving priority to ‘normal’ ones.

Our children are equal,” she said. Compiled by Yusuf Masibo, David Musundi, Tom Rachuonyo, Mathew Ndung’u

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