The debate on re-opening of learning institutions raged on as Education CS George Magoha revealed that it would cost Ksh. 1billion to acquire masks for schools.
Speaking during the COVID-19 virtual conference with governors, Prof. Magoha said masks and running water are mandatory for schools to reopen.
“What you need to understand is that we are going to require a lot of resources because the children must have masks. Some may be able to buy but between 50 and 60% of the children will not be able to buy the masks,” he said.
The Education CS also noted that the concept of social distancing is an impossibility especially in overcrowded public schools.
He said schools across the country have buildings that are not conducive for adequate social distancing measures.
“We have structures in school which dictate that if we do not comply, we will have problems in school,” he said adding that “if we say that we are opening in 2021, it is not cast in concrete and iron…it will depend on the figures from the Ministry of Health.”
Last week, the Education CS had hinted that school reopening dates might be changed from the initial plan of January 2021.
He however maintained that schools will only be reopened once the Health Ministry is sure that children will be safe in their schools.
“You’re aware the virus is starting to look like it is going to stagnate…we’re saying should the situation change, we shall be ready and willing to look at the scenario once again in the interest of our children,” said Prof. Magoha.
“As far as the government is concerned, ours is to open the learning institutions like yesterday…the bottom-line is our children should be reasonably safe when they return,” he added.
During the COVID-19 virtual conference on Monday, President Uhuru Kenyatta said the country had begun to flatten the COVID-19 but cautioned citizens against throwing caution to the wind.
According to him, invoking the Public Health Act for the first time in Kenya and issuing containment measures has aided the fight against the virus.
“I believe we have done remarkably well and that is why we have began to flatten the curve. But to do better we must remain brutally honest with our approaches because intellectual honesty is critical to building resilience gong forward,” he said.
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Kenya’s progressive decline in number of COVID-19 cases does not paint the real picture.
The global health body criticized Kenya’s testing strategy noting that the country targeted low risk groups while some county laboratories reported shortage of test kits and or specimen collection kits.
WHO also said there has been “reduced effective contact tracing” which has resulted in fewer cases being reported