Coronavirus: University Shuts Down, Sends Students Home

  • A photo of students at the Africa Nazarene University.
    Students assemble at the Africa Nazarene University.
  • Update Monday, March 16, 12:15 p.m.: The Technical University of Mombasa (TUM) has closed indefinitely following the presidential directive to halt learning in all institutions to avert the spread of the Coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

    The university senate ordered students to vacate the institution's halls of residence by noon on Monday.

    TUM becomes the fourth university to halt learning after the African Nazarene University, the University of Nairobi and Multimedia University ahead of the Friday, March 10, deadline. 

    UPDATE Monday, March 16: Multimedia University of Kenya (MMU) has also followed suit and suspended classes over coronavirus until further notice.

    A photo of Africa Nazarene University.
    Africa Nazarene University.

    The suspension was in line with Education CS George Magoha's ultimatum to all learning institutions to halt classes by Friday, March 20.

    A Daily Nation report indicated that all Makini Schools had already closed down following the directive.

    UPDATE Monday, March 16: The University of Nairobi has suspended classes following President Uhuru Kenyatta's directive to all learning institutions to stop learning activities over coronavirus threat.

    According to a report by Nation, The institution's VC Stephen Kiama, on Sunday, March 15, ordered the students to remain in their halls in an attempt to curb coronavirus spread.

    "Students are therefore advised to stay in their halls of residence until further instructions are issued," he said.

    "The University Senate will meet Monday at 7 a.m. to consider the matter and give further instructions," stated the VC

    Africa Nazarene University has responded after the first case of Coronavirus (Covid-19) was reported in Kenya.

    In a press release seen by dated Friday, March 13 and signed by Vice-Chancellor Stanley Bhebhe the university acting on precaution and aim to prevent infection of its students and staff, moved to suspend on-campus classes until the situation clears out.

    "After careful consideration and analysis of the situation, the university has taken a cautionary decision to suspend on-campus classes effective Monday, March 16, 2020, until further notice," the university's statement read in part.

    However, the institution informed that online classes would continue as scheduled. The university stated that the end of January trimester examinations for all modes of learning had been rescheduled to a later date.

    "All boarding students are instructed to check out of the university hostels from Saturday, March 14, 2020, but not later than 12.30 p.m Monday, March 16," the statement adds, noting that no unauthorised persons would be allowed entry into the University after the latter date.

    International students at the institution not able to check out within the given timelines were asked to consult with the institution's Dean of Students not later than Monday, March 16.

    "During this period of closure, we advise all students to continue taking necessary precautionary measures. You are encouraged to regularly check your student email accounts and all university media platforms for updates," the statement concludes.

    On March 10, the Catholic University of East Africa announced plans to teach its students from home.

    CUEA's Vice-Chancellor Stephen Mbugua Ngari directed all of the university's lecturers to develop online teaching modules for all courses offered during the ongoing semester following the global Coronavirus outbreak.

    “I hereby direct all teaching staff to develop online teaching modules for all the units they are teaching this semester so that they can be uploaded to the university academic online platform,” Ngari stated in a notice.

    The VC had set a March 20 deadline for all the lecturers to submit the online learning material.

    “The modules are to be submitted in soft copy to the In-Charge, Blended Programmes section of the university,” Ngari added.

    On Friday, March Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe announced the country's first Coronavirus case, urging members of the public to take necessary precaution to prevent contamination and contraction of the virus.

    Ministry of Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe addresses the media
    Ministry of Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe addresses the media from the Mbagathi District Hospital on Friday, March 6, 2020
    Simon Kiragu

    "Kenyans are reminded that those being infected will have mild symptoms and can recover easily but can be severe in others, especially the elderly persons. I have invoked the Public Health Act. I urge all Kenyans to observe the stipulated measures towards prevention," the CS added. 

    Health experts have been insisting that the best way to prevent infection is through proper handwashing with the masks serving only a minimal advantage. One can also maintain one metre between them and someone who is coughing or sneezing. It is advised one washes their hands with soap and running water or drench their palms with alcohol-based sanitizers.

    The CS also directed persons with a cough or sneeze to stay home and maintain good respiratory hygiene by covering their mouth when coughing or sneezing.

    "We have suspended all public activities, meetings, religious crusades, games and all events that are of a huge public measure. Normal church services can go on provided that they provide sanitising and hand washing as people go into the worshipping areas. We have also suspended all inter-school events but schools remain open,

    "Public Service providers are directed to provide hand sanitisers for their clients and wash their vehicles regularly. We have banned all visits to prison for 30 days.  We have placed travel restrictions outside the country, unless necessary.," Kagwe stated. 

    Kagwe lastly called on all Kenyans to be cautious and work towards a collective responsibility. 

    "This is that time when we are calling for serious citizen responsibility. This is not a situation where we depend on the government. It is time we take responsibility as a nation," the CS rallied.

    A statement of closure by Africa Nazarene University issued on Friday, March 13, 2020.
    A statement of closure by Africa Nazarene University issued on Friday, March 13, 2020.