Schools Reopening: CS Kagwe Fails to Approve Return of All Students

  • Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe speaking during a presser outside Kenyatta National Hospital, April 2020.
    Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe speaking during a presser outside Kenyatta National Hospital, April 2020.
  • The plan to have all students report back to school in the coming week (October 26, 2020) has been cast in doubt after Health CS Mutahi Kagwe failed to give the proposal the green light.

    With the Covid-19 positivity rate rising to 12% over the last few days, the Health CS instead urged Kenyans to be cautious.

    The spike in cases has further raised the possibility of a lockdown that could consequently result in the closure of schools.

    Over the last week, the daily infection rate average stood at 400, a huge rise from the low figures that led to the reopening of schools for Grade 4, 8 and Form 4 students.

    An image of Magoha
    Education Cabinet Secretary Professor George Magoha (left) Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang (right) and KCB Group chief executive officer Joshua Oigara (behind) touring Olympic Primary School in Kibera on Monday 12 October 2020.

    The Kenya Secondary School Heads Association Chairman Kahi Indimuli has come out to state that a number of headteachers across the country are in a dilemma over the reopening.

    "We would have wished to have all the students back in school but looking at the Covid-19 figures, we have to ask if it will be advisable to reopen. That is the fear we have," he explained.

    Indimuli further urged the Ministry of Health to issue a definitive statement regarding the proposed reopening of schools for the rest of the students.

    The chair of the National Parents Association Nicholas Maiyo informed the media that a petition was ready to have all schools closed in case any student tests positive for Covid-19.

    The 10-member special task force created by Education CS George Magoha had called for the October 26 return date for all students.

    However, the issue of capacity amid the recent spike has raised questions.

    Grade 4, Class 8 and Form 4 learners who are already in school have been spread across the classes in an attempt to adhere to social distancing rule. The main dilemma for headteachers is how to accommodate the rest of the learners in the same space should all learners be asked to report to school as proposed.

    Kenya Primary Schools Association (KPSA) national chairman Nicholas Gathemia stated that meeting social distance will be a major problem when all children report to school.

    “For now we do not have a problem because we have spread them (learners) across the classes. But we do not know what will happen when the rest of classes come,” said Gathemia.

    Students pictured during a lesson.
    Students pictured during a lesson.