NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 11- Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has convened a consultative conference for stakeholders next week to deliberate on school re-opening modalities.
In a statement, the ministry said Magoha has invited all stakeholders to attend the conference at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum and Development (KICD) to give their views.
In July, Magoha had announced that schools will not re-open until 2021 due to fears of COVID-19 infections which had increased significantly but has recently assured of early opening plans due to a decline in the cases.
Since last month, cases of COVID-19 have significantly dropped with about 150 cases weekly on average.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to issue new guidelines by the end of this month as part of re-opening the economy that has slowed down since March.
On August 25, a parent filed a petition in court seeking to compel the Education Cabinet Secretary to re-open schools and other learning institutions.
Schools in Kenya were closed in March when the first case of coronavirus was confirmed and they remain closed, with no indication on when exactly they will re-open next year.
It is such uncertainty that led to the filing of a case in court by Joseph Aura, who wanted the court to compel the government to issue directions on when schools will be re-opened
Represented by lawyer Harrison Kinyanjui, Aura filed the case under a Certificate of Urgency arguing that the prolonged open-ended closure of schools from March to date without any consultations with parents and guardians “is in violation of the Basic Education Act.”
He also faulted Magoha for converting schools and learning institutions to be COVID-19 quarantine facilities.
He urged the court to stop the move, saying it is in violation of Section 32 of the Public Health Act.
He also asked for “compensation of school-going children by way of damages for the psychological suffering due to the closure.
By September 11, Kenya had recorded 35, 793 cases of coronavirus after 190 new cases, even as the infections marked a consistent decline.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe on Friday said the new cases were detected from 4, 609 samples which were tested since Thursday.
“From the cases 182 are Kenyans and eight are foreigners. 136 are males and 54 are females. The youngest is a one-year-old infant and the oldest is 85,” he said.
Nairobi County recorded the highest number of cases after posting 65 cases followed by Kitui which recorded 27 cases.
395 COVID-19 patients were also cleared of the virus bringing the total number of recoveries in the country to 22, 442 so far.
“116 were from the home-based care programme while 279 were discharged from various hospitals countrywide,” Kagwe said.
COVID-19 fatalities in the country also rose to 616 after four more patients succumbed.
During Thursday’s Cabinet meeting which was chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenyans were urged to continue observing the guidelines and protocols issued by the Ministry of Health, which include: wearing facemasks, rigorous and frequent hand washing, physical and social distancing.