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Pupils in a classroom in Kenya. Photo: Courtesy

Plans to reopen schools suspended for the rest of the year.

All basic learning institutions will be reopened in January 2021.

According to Education CS Geroge Magoha, plans to reopen schools on September 1 2020 have been suspended amid soaring cases of Covid-19 in the country.

“Based on the rising trend, we agreed to shelve classes. The country will be severely affected as all other children will lose the year. It shall be impossible to achieve social distancing. In consultation with the Ministry of Health, stakeholders agreed that reducing physical numbers in classes will affect learning, schools should only resume if cases reduce consistently for 14 days and social and physical distancing is the most critical factor in ensuring the safety of learners, hand washing and using masks and monitoring temperature will be crucial too,” Magoha stated.

Teachers Service Commission CEO Nancy Macharia, Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers KUPPET Secretary-General Akello Misori and his KNUT colleague Wilson Sossion announced that they fully supported Magoha in a bid to protect students, parents and teachers.

“We were part and parcel of the entire process of the committee set up to come with regulations and it is imperative to prepare adequately to open. We agree and concur with all Magoha has stated. The burden to manage our health system will be enormous. It would be wrong to open soon,” Misori stated.

“We urge and call all parents to ensure that our children are safe until when they resume learning. Magoha’s decisions are in the best interest of the country and stakeholders, parents and students,” Sossion added.

A parent’s representative at the meeting added that parents had wished to have the education calendar in 2020 postponed. He assured parents that they would sit down with the Ministry to discuss on how the school fees issue would be addressed.

On Monday, July 6, while announcing the reopening of the country, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed Education CS George Magoha to notify the public on the resumption of the 2020 Academic Calendar for Basic Education and Tertiary Institutions.

The new calendar comes amid a backdrop of a back and forth decision by the CS on the reopening of schools. Magoha had advised the President against reopening of schools on September 1, arguing that Coronavirus cases had spiked.

He had also hinted at pushing the National Exams to between February and April 2021 and also pushing studies to resume in January 2021 with emphasis on the safety of students.