Kenyan schools were shut down in March 2020 after the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the country. When it was clear that the virus was here to stay, the government formed a task force to oversee how learning would resume amid the pandemic.
In September 2020, learning resumed with the partial university reopening with strict observance of COVID-19 protocols. In the same month, the Ministry of Education published guidelines on health and safety protocols for the reopening of basic education institutions, that is, primary and secondary school.
This paved way for the phased reopening of schools that prioritized candidates – grade 4, class 8 and form 4 students – who reported back to school on October 12, 2020. They will be sitting for national assessment in March this year.
On January 4, 2021, schools were expected to reopen countrywide with social distancing being a major concern. Mid last year, the government of Kenya embarked on an initiative to equip schools with as many desks as possible that will go to various primary and secondary schools.
We spoke to school heads at some of our partner schools and they revealed that that the government furnished them with COVID-19 protocols that they are adhering to.
Besides regular handwashing points and the wearing of masks at all times, other protocols include:
- Learning continues for all Kenyans despite the interruptions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- All educational institutions should have adequate toilets, which are properly maintained to prevent the spread of diseases.
- Dormitories and halls of residence shall be adapted to ensure there is no congestion and maintain a distance of at least one meter between beds from either side and where possible, boarding will be optional.
- Institution activities, playing, teaching/training, and learning will take place outside the classrooms.
- Where learners or trainees will be in class, institution management will create physical distance between learners and place working tables at least one meter apart from one another, and one meter apart from all doors to avoid any physical contact or air contamination.
- Institutional food handlers and cleaners will be required to have personal protective
equipment that includes gloves, apron, and facemasks, to promote basic health and hygiene.
- Where the population is high to avoid crowding in the dining hall, staggered eating shifts by classes or cohorts will be considered. Where possible, lunches and afternoon snacks will take place within each class with no sharing of food and utensils.
- In terms of co-curricular activities fields, shall be appropriately marked to ensure learners play different games that avoid touching or holding.
To supplement these efforts, Moja Tu students were furnished with masks and hand sanitizers and taken through basic hygiene measures to protect themselves and others from the novel coronavirus.