Counties to randomly test ECDE children before schools reopen

A section of primary school pupils in South B Nairobi participate in a hand washing campaign on October 15, 2019. [David Njaaga,Standard]

County governments will undertake random testing of Covid-19 on Early Childhood and Development Education children before re-opening. 

All ECDE centres shall re-open one month after the re-opening of the primary and secondary schools, the Council of Governors has announced.

“In this regard, we urge the Ministry of Health to support counties with testing kits,” said CoG chairman and Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya.

In a statement on Friday, he added that the re-opening of ECDEs and Vocational Training Centres (VTCs) will be guided by orders from the Education ministry.

The month-long delay will allow for time to monitor the rate of infection and management of the pandemic at the county level.

The council also reviewed guidelines developed by the Ministry of Education in consultation with county governments on Health and Safety Protocols on the reopening of ECDEs and VTCs. 

All VTCs will re-open at the same time as the national government learning institutions.

At the same time, all learning institutions used as Covid-19 isolation centres should be vacated and disinfected before teachers report on Monday.

In a letter to the Ministry of Health, Basic Education PS Belio Kipsang wants the cleaning done in time to allow teachers to prepare for the reopening of schools.

“Aware that public schools were used both as quarantine and isolation facilities, we are requesting that these schools are vacated and fumigated by September 28 to enable the school heads to prepare for eventual reopening,”  Kipsang said in a September 21 letter to Health PS Susan Mochache.

Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers secretary general Akello Misori shared similar sentiments saying: “Let us start by keeping teachers safe and disinfect the schools before they report on Monday.”

This came as the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) instructed teachers to prepare schemes of work, lesson plans and class timetables as soon as they report.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe has assured the public that Health and Education ministries are working together to ensure strict protocols are observed before re-opening of schools.

During his briefing on Covid-19 status on Thursday, Kagwe said the first phase of the re-opening will give learners time to acclimatise with the health protocols in schools before learning starts officially.

“If there are challenges that we are going to face, let’s face them at that stage,” he said.

Proposals to Education Cabinet Secretary, George Magoha by the Education Response Committee on Covid-19 suggest that schools should re-open in phases with learners expected at the institutions between October 5 and 19.

The phases are aimed at ensuring schools learn to manage students while implementing Covid-19 protocols.

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