Teachers worst hit by Covid in schools

Friday, October 30th, 2020 00:00 |
Basic Education PS Belio Kipsang during a tour of schools recently. Photo/PD/File

Irene Githinji and Seth Mwaniki

Thirty-three teachers, 17 learners and four members of non-teaching staff have contracted coronavirus disease, Education Principal Secretary (PS) Belio Kipsang revealed yesterday.

Kipsang said so far, 35 schools have been affected by Covid-19 across the country, three weeks since Grade 4, Class 8 and Form Four learners resumed learning.

Even with the situation, the PS reiterated to the National Assembly committee on education yesterday that schools will not be closed but the situation will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

“We are not about to close schools but we are putting our heads together about reopening other classes.

The challenge at hand lies with parents, some of who are attending rallies with no masks so let us not even blame our children.

Why should the ministry be told to achieve social distance yet we as parents are attending rallies without observing safety measures against Covid-19,”posed the PS.

He said the challenge at hand for the ministry is achieving social distancing in public schools, which is also one of the reasons why they have delayed reopening for other classes, coupled with the daily surge in the number of infections.

Yesterday, 1,018 people tested positive out of a sample of 6,649. Sixteen patients succumbed to the disease bringing the fatalities to 950.

The PS said reopening for all learners would require providing double the infrastructure currently available in learning institutions and the Ministry has instead opted to ‘live within its means’, at least for now.

On the two Mombasa schools closed over Covid-19, the PS said such a scenario was anticipated even before the ministry considered partial reopening.

He said it was out of such anticipation that the ministry provided safety protocols and interventions well in advance to be fully observed in learning institutions.

“Just like any other institution that the virus hits, schools must be thoroughly fumigated.

So, for the two schools that had challenges, it is not that we closed them but we are ensuring the place is well fumigated so that when learners go back once again the environment will be safe,” the PS explained.

He said once the two weeks of fumigation are completed, the schools will continue with learning just like it has happened in any other institution where cases of Covid-19 have been reported.

On Monday, Tononoka Boys High School Principal Mohammed Khamis succumbed to the disease, four days after he was admitted at the Coast General Teaching and Referral Hospital) Intensive Care Unit.

Meanwhile, teh PS urged parents with children in boarding schools to pay school fees to allow for smooth running of schools.

He  said that despite the economic difficulties occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, it was imperative that parents meet their fees obligations in order for schools to run.

 “The type of school fees we are collecting is for boarders. For you to be in a boarding school, you have to take a meal, pay for water and that is a transfer cost,” said the PS.

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