Kenya has made another positive step in the direction of reopening schools after Principal Secretary of Basic Education Dr Belio Kipsang wrote to the Ministry of Education to fumigate schools that were used as quarantine centres.
Teachers are expected to be back in schools after the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) ordered them to formally remote on Monday, September 28, 2020, ahead of reopening date.
A letter Dr Kipsang sent to his counterpart in the health docket Susan Mochache partially reads: “Aware that public schools were used both as quarantine and isolation facilities, we are requesting that these schools are vacated and fumigated by September 28 to enable the school heads to prepare for eventual reopening.” The letter was drafted on September 21, 2020.
On the same day, TSC CEO Dr Nancy Macharia instructed the teachers to get their hands on the desks and draft timetables and lesson plans ahead of the reopening. Beside this is the directive to the teachers to ensure that they follow the health protocols provided to avert the spread of the Covid-19.
“Develop innovative strategies and mechanism for curriculum implementation while upholding the Ministry of Health guidelines and protocols for the containment of the spread of Covid-19, including social distancing, regular hand washing, use of sanitisers and the wearing of masks,” she stated.
She also ordered school heads to work with ministry of health to ensure that dormitories, offices and class rooms are thoroughly cleaned before learners resume.
“There must be proper sharing of duties and responsibilities among teachers while making efforts to protect staff with underlying conditions,” she stated in circular sent regional, county and sub-county education directors on Monday.
All children required
Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary-General Wilson Sossion added his voice to this on Tuesday after he met other allied organisations on addressing gender violence issues. Mr Sossion appealed with teachers to help learners get to the education mode saying some pupils have gone through a lot during the pandemic break.
“Teachers should be more sensitive when handling learners. Some of them have endured challenges, including gender-based violence, during the period they have been home,” Sossion said.
“Some of the children have lost parents and other loved ones while others have undergone trauma and it will take them time to adjust to school environment,” he added.
He said teachers are ready to welcome even girls who fell pregnant during the holiday to the extent of giving them nutrition if need be.
Kenya Private Schools Association chairperson Mutheu Kasanga lauded the move to recall teachers and cautioned that teachers who will not report on Monday shall be adjudged to have quit. “We have hit the ground running and we shall only work with teachers who will have reported. Those who fail will be replaced. Preparation for opening is elaborate and requires everyone on board,” said Kasanga.
Kasanga then revealed that the schools will liaise with property owners to allow teachers in as they wait for things to get better to foot bills in full.