No child should be exposed to Corona – Catholic bishops

Thursday, December 10th, 2020 00:00 |
Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops led by the chair and Archbishop of Kisumu, Philip Anyola (left), Mombasa’s counterpart Martin Kivuva (centre) and Kakamega apostolic administrator Joseph Obanyi address the media, yesterday. Photo/PD/Gerald Ithana

The Catholic Church yesterday urged the government to ensure children will be protected from Covid-19 pandemic when schools reopen next month. 

Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) chairman and the Archbishop of Kisumu Phillip Anyolo said the church supports re-opening of schools but it should be done cautiously since some learning institutions require support to boost infrastructure.

“We are cautiously happy that schools are reopening in January. We say cautiously happy because we know that not all schools have the capacity to adequately prepare for reopening in compliance with the Covid-19 protocols,” said Anyolo, who spoke after a Catholic bishops’ meeting in Nairobi, yesterday.

The church urged both the National and County governments to keep their promise to ensure schools reopen in a Covid-19 risk free environment.

“The efforts being made to achieve this goal have to be doubled so that no child is exposed to risk of contracting the deadly virus,” Anyolo added.

The church also urged schools to be tolerant with parents with regards to paying school fees, saying Covid-19 has contributed to high levels of low incomes in families.

“There are many parents who, as a matter of fact, will not be able to raise school fees for their children.

While we truly appreciate that educating a child is primarily the responsibility of a parent, we cannot overlook the conditions in which some parents find themselves for reasons beyond their control,” noted Anyolo. 

The government has released the school calendar for next year, with all primary and secondary schools expected to resume on January 4.

A tight schedule awaits learners and teachers when they resume in January, as they are expected to cover almost two-year’s syllabus next year.

Education CS George Magoha urged teachers to employ innovative approaches to ensure they fully cover syllabus in a desirable manner, since the traditional term dates are expected to resume in 2024.

The new term dates will see learners proceed with Term Two in January of the classes they were in when learning was suspended in March owing to coronavirus cases.

With the new timelines, learners and teachers will have to contend with not only a tight schedule but also reduced holiday and mid-term breaks.

Instead of the traditional one-month break, learners will only take a week’s break while the week-long half term break has been reduced to three days.

According to new term dates, Pre-Primary 1 and 2, Grades 1 to 3, Classes 5, 6 and 7 as well as Forms 1, 2 and 3 learners will start second term on January 4 and end on March 19 to pave way for KCPE and KCSE exams.

Grade 4 and Class 8 and Form 4 will also resume for third term on January 4. All learners, except Class 8 and Form 4 learners, will proceed for a seven-week holiday to allow for the national exams administration and marking.

Grade 4 and incoming Form 1 (Class 8 graduates) learners will stay at home as other learners complete their third term.

Grade 4 learners will transition to Grade 5 in July while all four-year old children will  be joining school the same month as opposed to January next year.

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