Work together to ensure schools reopen safely
That learners are heading back to school is a joyous moment. The uncertainty that had dogged the education sector courtesy of the Covid-19 pandemic had weighed down on the learners, teachers, parents and guardians.
The Ministry of Education has taken the bold step to partially reopen schools.
This has been undertaken with extreme caution because the virus is still spreading in the community, and whereas the curve has been flattened the threat remains.
Specialists have warned the populace not to lower their guard as the threat of infection and the vagaries of the disease are as bad as they were earlier in the year.
Reopening of schools is, therefore, a bold move that calls for everybody’s support.
And for the gamble to succeed the system should run like a well-oiled machine.
Already there is a cloud of uncertainty on the level of preparations ahead of the reopening.
For Instance, school heads say the government is yet to dispatch money to the institutions.
Given the new guidelines that inform the back to school drive it is expected that proper investment be done before resumption of learning.
Also, schools have been advised to look for funding from creditors and donors.
While this is a noble idea there needs to be proper guidelines to avoid cases where school property is abused and used as collateral for avoidable loans.
Indeed school heads will carry a huge responsibility of ensuring the reopening gamble works and students are safe.
Apart from the routine academic routine they are supposed to provide psychosocial support and counselling to learners who have been away for the longest period in an academic year.
And although the government has promised to provide face masks for learners and teachers, questions remain whether these will be ready and available by the time classes resume on Monday.
It’s also common knowledge that many institutions suffer serious water shortage, yet hygiene is one of the key weapons in the fight against coronavirus.
Such schools will be called upon to come up with innovative ways of ensuring children observe cleanliness to avoid infections.
In sum, successful reopening of schools will depend on how parents engage with school administrations and management to ensure risk of infection is minimised.
This may mean parents arming learners, especially the very young ones, with the vitals to keep the pandemic at bay.