CS Magoha Rules Out Closure of Schools Over Increasing COVID-19 Cases

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has ruled out the closure of schools over the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country.

Speaking while inspecting the production units for desks being distributed to schools in Kakamega, the CS stated that the small pockets of infections recording in schools are being monitored closely. However, he hinted that learners who are yet to resume school might stay at home for longer periods as a date for reopening is yet to be issued. “In terms of the scheduled reopening of schools … first of all we never gave any dates. That date of October 26 belonged to the media. What we said is that we were going to monitor how everything is going and shall make an announcement in consultation with the Interior and Health ministries.” He said.

This comes just a day after learning was suspended in two coastal schools after teachers and students tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The two schools were forced to close after 15 teachers tested positive for the deadly virus. Mombasa County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo confirmed on Wednesday that 11 teachers at Tononoka High School and four at Star of the Sea High school tested positive for coronavirus. Kitiyo said that more samples have been taken and they are awaiting results.

Students were sent home and did not sit for the national assessment tests that began today. The progressive reopening of primary and secondary schools commenced on Monday, October 12, 2020, with Grade 4 (Competency-Based Curriculum), Class 8 and Form 4 learners after months of closure over Covid-19 fears. Over the recent past, a section of parents has expressed concerns over the move to reopen schools as the country continues to witness a spike in cases.

Yesterday, the country recorded 1,068 new cases and 12 more deaths further raising Kenya’s positivity rate to 14 percent compared to the 4 percent positivity rate on October 3. Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe on Sunday warned Kenya is headed for a second wave.

Kagwe attributed the surge to recklessness after the government relaxed Covid-19 measures including the reopening of bars and curfew hours last month. “The spike we are witnessing has not erupted from nowhere, it’s because of defiance. Bars are not maintaining social distancing, wearing of masks, I plead with you to follow the measures so that the measures are not escalated,” he said. “What happens when you go to the pub, get infected then infect your children who are now back to school, think about it, they will, in turn, infect other pupils, and they will infect others, the story can unfold,” he added.

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