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Learners at Central Primary School in Kisumu when they resumed for physical learning on October 12, 2020 after the COVID-19 break that started in March. /OJWANG JOE.

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IN PICTURES: Kenya reopens schools after COVID-19 break

NAIROBI, Kenya Oct 12 – Physical learning resumed in Kenya Monday, after a long break occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic that forced closure in March.

The Education Ministry allowed learners in Grade 4, Standard 8 and Form 4 to start reporting to school for physical learning, as parents await to known when other classes will resume.

The schools were reopened under tough measures which include social distancing in class, wearing face masks and having water at designated points for washing hands.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha (speaking to a learner) accompanied by Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang (centre) and Kenya Commercial Bank CEO Joshua Oigara (left) when they toured Olympic Primary School in Nairobi on October 12, 2020 when schools reopened for physical learning since the COVID-19 break that started in March.

“We are back, but the COVID-19 protocols must be followed,” said Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha on a tour of schools in Kibra in the capital Nairobi, “teachers must ensure that the learners are well protected and they have masks on.”

Our crew visited various schools across the country to see the measures put in place to defeat COVID-19:

Learners resumed physical learning on October 12, 2020 after a COVID-19 break that started in March. /MOSES MUOKI.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha directed teachers to identify and compile a list of leaders with preexisting conditions for special COVID-19 attention.

“That is very important because it will help to know who has a preexisting condition so as to get special COVID-19 attention,” he said.

Learners resumed physical learning on October 12, 2020 after a COVID-19 break that started in March. /MOSES MUOKI.
A student in class at Nairobi Milimani Secondary School. /MOSES MUOKI.

He also directed headteachers to identify and compile a list of all learners with preexisting conditions while also checking the temperatures of learners on a daily basis.

A teacher takes the temperature of a student at Nairobi Milimani Secondary School on October 12, 2020 when physical learning resumed after COVID-19 break. MOSES MUOKI.

Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang raised concerns that some learners were reporting to school without marks, and urged parents to comply with the COVID-19 protocols.

“Masks are a must for all learners and teachers,” Kipsang said, “so children should not be allowed to stay without masks.”

Magoha has said that the government will only provide free masks to the less fortunate learners.

Learners at a school in Lamu when they reported for physical learning on October 12, 2020 after a COVID-19 break that started in March.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha said it was the responsibility of teachers to ensure hygiene measures are maintained, through hand-washing in all schools.

A student washes his hands at Nairobi Milimani Secondary School when schools reopened after COVID-19 break that started in March. /MOSES MUOKI.
Nairobi Milimani Secondary School: Learners resumed physical learning on October 12, 2020 after a COVID-19 break that started in March. /MOSES MUOKI.

The schools were reopened to enable preparations for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examinations which will commence on March 22, 2021 and end on March 24, 2021, while KCSE exams will start on March 25, 2021 and end on April 16, 2021.

“Although physical distancing will remain a challenge, it should not be used as a bottleneck to keep any child away from school,” Magoha said.

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A teacher takes the temperature of a student in Embu on October 12, 2020 when schools in Kenya resumed physical learning after a COVID-19 break that started in March.

The schools were reopened following a decline in COVID-19 cases in Kenya since August.

Learners at Central Primary School in Kisumu when they resumed for physical learning on October 12, 2020 after the COVID-19 break that started in March. /OJWANG JOE.
Learners resumed physical learning on October 12, 2020 after a COVID-19 break that started in March.

During the long COVID-19 break, the rate of early pregnancies among learners who were at home was identified as a major concern across the country.

And as schools resumed physical learning, Magoha said no girl will be denied a chance to resume studies because of pregnancy.

“They are all welcome back to continue with their studies,” he said, even as he warned that perpetrators will face the law.

“We will not be able to provide masks to every learner,” he said, “but we shall provide them for the less fortunate. Parents are encouraged to purchase the reusable masks for their children for safety.”

Education CS Magoha has directed headteachers not to send any learner home for school fees due to the economic situation in the country occassioned by COVID-19 pandemic that slowed business and forced others to close.

Learners in class at Utithini Primary School in Masinga when they resumed physical learning on October 12, 2020 after a COVID-19 break that started in March.

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