Health CAS Rashid Aman on Monday, September 21, fired a new warning to Education CS Prof. George Magoha regarding the planned early reopening of schools.
Speaking during the daily COVID-19 press briefing at Afya House in Nairobi, Aman urged all the stakeholders to exercise caution as the deadly virus was still present and rampantly spreading across the country.
“We have not yet defeated COVID-19. Our numbers may show that our measures have been working, but it would not be prudent at all for us to think of closing down facilities or easing on measures we put in place to curb the spread in the first place,” he warned.
He went on to detail the progress of the ongoing discussions between the relevant Ministries on the schools reopening plan.
“This will be done in phases involving specific schools and classes. The Ministry will then monitor how the curve progresses after that. We are determined to take the safest route of reopening without creating a distortion that will lead us back to where we were a few months ago,” he reiterated.
CAS Aman revealed that during the discussions, his Ministry showcased various scenarios of countries that were forced to revert back to lockdown protocols, after opening up various sectors of their industries pre-maturely.
One of those scenarios was the reopening of schools in several states in the US in August 2020.
Schools in Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and Indiana opened their doors for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic during this period, a move that led to the spike in COVID-19 cases among children in the US.
“There has been a 90% increase in the number of COVID-19 cases among children in the United States, according to a recent analysis by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association. Several clusters of coronavirus cases emerged in Florida, Georgia and Mississippi schools within days of starting classes,” reads a report published by CNN following the reopening.
It is such cases that prompted CAS Aman to push for a cautious and gradual reopening of schools in Kenya, with strict adherence to the new containment protocols.
His statement came on the same day that CS Magoha handed teachers a one-week ultimatum to report back to school, following a directive issued by Teachers Service Commission (TSC) CEO Nancy Macharia.
“The teachers can come latest next week, but if you love your school and you live near there you can report starting from today. Due to delocalisation, it is still fine if you arrive on the 28th as the last date,” noted Magoha.
Health CAS Rashid Aman on reopening of schools pic.twitter.com/RqOWwsxLAt
— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) September 21, 2020