It has now emerged that 17 students and 33 teachers have so far tested positive for COVID-19 since schools reopened two weeks ago.
This is according to Education Principal Secretary Dr. Belio Kipsang who told Members of Parliament that 4 non-teaching staff have also contracted the virus.
Dr. Kipsang, speaking when he appeared before the National Assembly’s Education Committee, said 35 schools countrywide have reported COVID-19 cases so far; he however ruled out any possibility of closure of schools in the immediate future.
“We are not about to close schools unless advised by the Ministry of Health, but we are putting our heads together to work our modalities of reopening other classes,” said Dr. Kipsang.
He told the MPs that the biggest challenge will be achieving social distancing in public schools, adding that they would need to double school infrastructure if they were to achieve it.
The PS insisted that the ministry plans to mitigate that by providing water for regular washing of hands and ensuring students wear masks in schools.
He further stated that the government, however, does not plan to buy masks for students urging parents to take responsibility.
Dr. Kipsang said they will partner with development partners to ensure students who cannot afford masks receive them in order to curb the spread of the virus, further putting the blame on parents and politicians for frustrating efforts to curb the spread of the disease.
“Our challenge is our parents attending political rallies and other social gatherings without masks, let’s not blame our children, why tell us to achieve social distance in schools if parents are attending rallies without observing measures?” He posed.
Members of the committee led by Chairperson and Busia Woman Representative Florence Mutua said despite the fact that it’s important for students to go back to school, the government must put in place adequate measures to ensure the safety of children before they are allowed back.
Tononoka Secondary School Principal Mohammed Khamis recently succumbed to the virus as the mortality rate and infections continue to soar in the country.