Varsities: We’re ready for reopening

Wednesday, September 16th, 2020 00:00 |
University of Nairobi. Photo/PD/GERALD ITHANA

Irene Githinji and Harrison Kivisu

Most universities and colleges are ready for immediate reopening, following the decline in coronavirus infections.

Interviews with various heads of the institutions of higher learning revealed that they had achieved a high degree of preparedness, to enable resumption of learning.

The University of Nairobi (UoN) Vice Chancellor Stephen Kiama said the institution had enhanced measures to ensure that Health ministry guidelines are adhered to when institutions reopen.

Phased reopening

“As we wait for the government to lift the current restrictions, we are putting measures in place to ensure safety of our students,” said Prof Kiama.

The university said it will be guided by advise from Health and Education ministries, after which the university senate will have a sitting to ratify the decision and set the actual reopening date.

“No guidelines have been received yet, but we are going on with our activities including virtual learning.

We are planning to go on with virtual learning this semester until further notice,” UoN Corporate Affairs Director, John Orindi told People Daily.

Orindi said that already, the university has embraced phased reopening, starting with final year medical students and the institution is observing behavioural trends.

“Once we get the greenlight for on-campus learning, the decision will be tabled before the university senate and various considerations will be discussed, for instance resources available and spacing,” added Orindi.

Declared fit

Kenya Technical Trainers College (KTTC) Principal Hilda Omwoyo on her part reported that there has been good progress regarding preparedness to resume on-course learning adding that they keep improving the institution for safety of all learners and tutors.

Omwoyo declined to give any date for re-opening saying they are waiting for a go-ahead from the ministry.

“We are waiting for instructions on how we move forward. In the meantime, we are doing our best to ensure the institution is ready for on-course training.

We have water points and sanitisers in place and we are ensuring that the social distancing concept is enhanced,” Omwoyo said yesterday.

Already, KTTC is producing sanitisers through its science department.

Similar sentiments were echoed by Mt Kenya University (MKU), which indicated that education officials inspected the institution and issued a  clean bill of health.

“We are ready to reopen as soon as yesterday, because we have even been declared fit to resume on-course learning but we have to wait the ministry’s directives,” MKU indicated.

Pwani University in Kilifi and the Technical University of Mombasa (TUM) have also reaffirmed their preparedness for phased reopening , while following coronavirus protocols.

Pwani Vice Chancellor Mohamed Rajab confirmed the institution has made significant adjustments at the hostels to ensure social distancing when learning resumes.

Prof Rajab said the hostels can now accommodate two people per cubicle unlike the previous four and is ready for phased reopening, which will give priority to fourth year students.

“There are some things like teaching practice we cannot do online, therefore we will be opening gradually giving considerations to the fourth year students,” Rajab said.

TUM Vice Chancellor Laila Abubakar said the institution has already been assessed and the ministry is satisfied with their preparations.

Prof Abubakar confirmed the institution’s senate will hold a meeting by end of this week, to streamline any pending matter.

“We have done markings in classes observing the 1.5 metre distance and reduced the number of students per hostel to ensure there is no crowding,”Abubakar told People Daily. 

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