Magoha : Maintaining social distance in schools will be challenging.

Education cabinet secretary with Kitui governor Charity Ngilu when the CS went to check progress of face mask production by KicoTec.

Education cabinet secretary Professor George Magoha admitted that ensuring that students adhere to social distancing measures when schools open in September remains a challenge.

According to the daily nation, the CS was advised by experts from the health ministry that a 45 learner capacity classroom be decongested in order to prevent spread of the virus.

“We’ve been advised by the ministry of health that a class should have between 15 and 20 students. You all know this is going to be a big challenge because schools do not have sufficient learning facilities” he said.

Presently,the total number of students both in primary and secondary stands at approximately 24 million.

If social distancing is to be properly enhanced,then it means several learners must find alternative learnin’g facilities.

In some schools,especially in the urban centres, a classroom can have upto 70 learners.

Teacher shortage.
Crippling teacher shortage is likely to worsen the already worse situation.

The shortage which currently stands at 130,000 accross the entire basic education sector mean that radicle timetables cannot be effected.

At the same time,neither can the classes  be split into managable sizes to adhere to health protocols.

Thousands of teachers are aged.
Several teachers are in their fifties,an age bracket that health experts says is the most vulnarable.

It is hard for such teachers to work from home and if they are to be absent from school for health reasons then the  problem of understaffin’g will be intensified.

Professor Magoha said that the government was working with speed to see to it that schools have the health requirements.

These includes sanitisers, thermo guns and hand-washing tanks before they reopen.

Magoha was talking during his tour to Kitui County Textiles Centre (KicoTec) where he went to assess its capacity to manufacture quality face masks for school children. 

While taking him around , Kitui County government Charity Ngilu said that the factory was in a position to produce the required number of masks within the stipulated time frame.

In addition to the Kitui factory,Rivatex and the National Youth Service will also be given orders to produce the masks.

“There will be no negotiations about pupils wearing masks in school. This is giving me sleepless nights because in order to give each pupil two, we must produce 24 million in the next 45 days,” Prof Magoha said.

He added that the school heads will be required to report to the schools to be trained on how to handle covid 19 clasess and to ensure the station meets the required safety measures.

Governor Charity Ngilu assured the CS that the products to be produced by his team will be of high standards.

She said that the masks will be produced in accordance with prototype generated jointly by health and education experts, in order to ensure even smaller pupils are well protected.

The minimum requirements upon reopening have been outlined as clean running water and soap for hand washing or hand sanitizers.

Safety of the learners will be given a priority when learning resumes.

In light of that ,the objects that are frequently touched by students will be regularly disinfected.

These includes door knobs, light switches and stair railings.

If the Sunday Infotrack polls is anything to go by ,70 percent of the citizens are opposed to reopening of schools before the pandemic is fully contained.

On June 1, President Uhuru Kenyatta asked both education and health ministries to have a discussion on mordalities of re opening schools.

Going by the recent figures of covid-19 cases in Kenya,the pandemic is not yet contained,the curve is not flat yet.

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