Magoha Advises Uhuru Against Reopening Schools in September

  • File image of students in a class
    File image of students in a class
  • Education CS George Magoha has advised President Uhuru Kenyatta against reopening schools at a time when Coronavirus cases are on an upward trend.

    Magoha highlighted that it will be difficult to enforce social distancing in 40,000 schools with a population of over 14 million students. The Head of State had directed him to prepare a new school calendar to be released by mid-August 2020 as schools were scheduled to reopen on September 1. 

    The CS raised the concern during a virtual meeting with Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto, Health CS Mutahi Kagwe and Governors on Thursday, June 25.

    An image of President Uhuru Kenyatta
    President Uhuru Kenyatta chairing a virtual meeting with Governors on Thursday 25 June 2020.

    "I will advise not to open schools when the infections from the disease are rising. We propose that school clusters be attached to a health facility before we can open," Magoha stated.

    Magoha had earlier announced a raft of measures stipulated to guide the reopening of schools. He directed that the maximum number of learners in a classroom would be between 15 and 20 with a 1.5-metre social distance. 

    He further announced that teachers would be expected to report to their schools two weeks before the reopening date and that each learner to be provided with two masks and national exams may be taken in April 2021. 

    However, in the virtual meeting, DP Ruto and other experts proposed to have only candidates resume schools to curb the spread of Coronavirus. 

    "We have to fashion ourselves towards the new normal until we have a vaccine. It is too risky to open schools and risk the lives of young Kenyans. Let us look at the possibility of candidates only who number about 1.5 million and open up for them to write exams," Ruto advised.

    Magoha further stated that he had prepared his Ministry in case school resumes on September 1. He explained that schools will undergo fumigation, and be provided with clean water alongside offering masks to students. 

    Health CS Mutahi Kagwe warned that the number of virus cases was rising, with Kenya recording 5,384 cases as on Thursday, June 25. Kagwe advised against re-opening of the economy before the response preparedness threshold agreed upon is fully met.

    He attributed the rise in the number of cases to counties that had hastily reopened the economy without having proper Covid-19 containment protocols set up.

    CS Education Prof George Magoha while releasing 2019 KCPE results at Mitihani House in Nairobi on Monday November 18, 2019
    CS Education Prof George Magoha while releasing 2019 KCPE results at Mitihani House in Nairobi on Monday November 18, 2019
    Simon Kiragu