UPDATE Monday, March 16: Education CS George Magoha issued a circular officially suspending learning in institutions in the country. School heads were directed to make arrangements and communicate with parents to ensure their students got home safely by Friday.
Boarding schools were encouraged to mobilize day school buses to be used to ferry the students to designated drop-off points. They were also advised to seek out NTSA-compliant PSV vehicles to ferry students on condition that they were cleaned, sanitised and inspected by the head of the institution.
"Schools should make arrangements to use school buses to ferry learners to the nearest designated drop-off points which must be within proximate distance to be picked by their parents. All school buses belonging to day schools should also be mobilised for the purpose," read the circular signed by the CS.
President Uhuru Kenyatta has suspended learning in all institutions in the country.
In a press statement at the Harambee House, the head of state announced that all schools be closed effective Monday, March 16.
He directed, that in a phased approach, primary day and boarding schools, the school administration for students and pupils in boarding institutions be back at their respective homes by Wednesday, March 18, 2020.President Uhuru Kenyatta delivering the New Year message on December 31, 2019.Citizen Digital
President Kenyatta also directed University and tertiary institutions in the country to halt the ongoing learning by Friday, March 20, 2020.
He ordered for government offices, businesses, and companies to allow employees to work from home, with an exception of people working in critical sectors.
President Kenyatta asked members of the public to use of cashless transactions.
"We appeal to mobile operators and banks to take the note of the situation we are in and reduce the cost of transactions," the head of state pronounced.
Citizens are advised to avoid congregating in places of worship, minimise attendance in social gatherings including weddings and funerals, and restrict the same to immediate family members
He asked that people avoid crowded places including shopping malls and entertainment premises, as well as minimise visiting hospitalised patients in public and private hospitals.
"Hospitals and shopping malls are encouraged to provide washing soap and sanitisers and ensure that all their premises are regularly disinfected, in a bid to minimise the spread of the pandemic," President Kenyatta directed.
He urged Kenyans to minimise public transport as much as possible.
Senate Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen had earlier advised that the government suspend learning, arguing that students and children were at a higher risk of infection.
"Ordinarily, flu spreads fast through Children in School and other social places. It’s my considered opinion that schools should be closed as from tomorrow until the relevant authorities prepare well for better ways of containing Covid-19 virus in Kenya," Murkomen argued.
The directive by the head of state proceeds earlier measures enacted by the government to curb the spread and exposure to the virus.
Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke earlier, Mary Muthoni, Director of St. Petroc Premier School in Embu, informed that her institution had taken all the necessary measures to ensure students are well protected from the spread of Coronavirus.
"We have ensured that the students and every member of our staff gets access to adequate sanitisation within the school," Muthoni stated.
"We have installed sanitizers at entrances to all classes, dormitories, staff rooms, meeting rooms, dining room, as well as ensure the pupils maintain proper hygiene by washing hands," the Women in Business Kenyan Chapter CEO added.
She stated that students and pupils would only be kept safe in a collaborative effort with parents. Muthoni stated that the school had advised parents to day schooling students to maintain proper hygiene as at home as well.
"We have communicated with parents to ensure children are well taken care of. We have reached out to parents of our boarding pupils informing them of the measures the school is taking," Muthoni informed.
Following the directive on school closure, she assured that her institution was determined to collaborate with parents in line with the directives issued by the government in ensuring safety of the children.
Following the confirmation of Coronavirus cases in Kenya, fraudsters have set up traps to extort unsuspecting members of the public.
In text messages received by several people as seen by Kenyans.co.ke, the alleged conmen are asking for money pretending to be students, and pupils, especially those in boarding institutions.
"Hi, mum, tunatoa 2850 za kununuliwa safety kit (gloves, gas mask, detergents) za kujikinga na Coronavirus. Nitumie Kwa teacher Bahati No yake: 070744... Asante," the messages read.
Members of the public are advised to engage avoid a 'blind' response to these texts, and rather adequately confirm their legitimacy.
Nairobi County Commander who spoke to Kenyans.co.ke adviced that members of public deal directly with the school administrators, instead of messages and texts so as to avoid being duped.
"Conmen are aware of the situation, and when they send such messages, some times parents who are well endowed might send money without confirmation. I urge them to reach out to the principal, even class teachers if possible and ensure they are not conned," Ndolo stated.
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