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SCHOOLS REOPENING: GOVT SUSPENDS RETURN OF ALL STUDENTS

The government has suspended the mass reopening of schools, directing that only Grade Four, Class 8 and Form Four students will continue with their studies.

The decision was made after Health CS Mutahi Kagwe declined to approve the resumption of studies for all other students.

Education CS George Magoha was expected to release a date for mass reopening after candidates and Grade Four students returned to schools on Monday, October 12.

The Kenya Association of International Schools (KAIS) already postponed mass reopening for their students in line with a directive from the Ministry of Education.

“The ministry has elected to postpone further reopening of other levels for in-person learning as they conduct an audit of this initial phase and iron out a decision model for re-opening schools as needed.

“This is due to the spike and second wave of Covid-19 community transmission,” KAIS Head of Secretariat Jane Mwangi stated in an interview with the Standard.

CS Magoha and his team were sent back to the drawing board and are analysing the trajectory of the disease for two weeks before making a final call.

However, stakeholders are worried that a new date may hamper the school calendar issued by Magoha ahead of partial reopening on October 12.

All other students may be forced to sit at home till mid-November or January 2021. The ministry is also contemplating directing schools to revert to virtual learning.

On Thursday, October 22, Health CAS Mercy Mwangangi assured parents that they should not be worried about the upsurge in Covid-19 cases after two schools in Mombasa were closed.

Education CAS Zack Kinuthia added that schools would not be shut down again and national exams would proceed as planned. The Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam is scheduled for March 22, 2021, with the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Exams (KCSE) commencing on March 25, 2021.

“Schools will not be closed based on the cases in Mombasa. If a school is found to be a threat, we close the school or the student is isolated and learning will continue,” Kinuthia stated.

On Thursday, October 22, Kenya recorded the highest number of daily Covid-19 cases. 1,068 people tested positive with the total number of cases since March 13 rising to 47,212.

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