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Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha/FILE

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COVID-19 curve to determine schools re-opening in Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 1 – Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has sent the strongest indication yet, that schools in the country are unlikely to re-open until early next year.

Magoha said consultations among key stakeholders, including parents and teachers’ unions, are all in agreement that schools can only re-open once the COVID-19 curve is flattened.

“The position of the parents has been very firm that we don’t open until the curve is flattened and the parents are the major shareholders,” he said, citing a similar position from the Council of Governors, “they also said they will not allow the schools to be re-opened until the curve is flattened.”

Infections in the country rose to 6,366 Tuesday with 148 deaths.

Magoha said they are also concerned about congestion in schools which makes it difficult to maintain social distancing among learners.

Schools countrywide are congested, particularly public schools after the government enforced a free education approach.

“We have also been reliably informed by the doctors that the peak is likely to come in September and by the Grace of God step down around January. Taking all this into consideration, and that whatever will determine when we will re-open will be informed by social distancing.”

Even though Magoha was not specific that schools will not re-open this year, his remarks were understood to mean it is highly unlikely due to the climbing COVID-19 curve in the country since last month.

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“The owner of the process who is President Uhuru Kenyatta will make the decision,” he said.

President Kenyatta is set to announce new measures or review the existing ones next week on expiry of the existing containment measures.

Kenya is implementing tough measures, which include a night curfew countrywide and cessation of movement into and out of Nairobi, Mombasa and Mandera where higher infections were reported.

Bars, churches and any form of large gathering is also banned.

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