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Medics say no adequate data to justify rushed reopening of schools

By George Kebaso
Monday, September 28th, 2020
Were Onyino, the KMA President.
In summary

Medics in the country have warned against rushed  reopening of schools on grounds that, there is no adequate data to justify plans  to have learners resume classes.

The medics expressed concern that the State is yet to finalise reopening of the economy and therefore schools, should be reopened as the last option. 

During a meeting with journalists yesterday at the Kenya Medical Association (KMA) headquarters, the medics said there is need for measures to be put in place before school gates are flung open to learners.

Subsequently, the association announced a raft of recommendations ahead of today’s national Covid-19 conference – to be presided over by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Were Onyino, the KMA President said the reason educational institutions were closed was to reduce physical interaction and therefore, lower the risk of Covid-19 community transmission.

“However, as indications to reopen schools in late October are rife, it is important for the country to be cautious.

There is need to carry out a phased reopening of schools starting with Standard Eight and Form Four, before allowing other learners to join, lest the country is exposed to another wave of infections surge,” he said lamenting that the level of testing is relatively low, and thus the country unable to get the full picture of the pandemic.

Dr Onyino said that for the country to justify re-opening of schools, there must be evidence that the epidemiological pattern of the Covid-19 pandemic is well known.

“We are of the view that before schools are reopened, the government and learning institutions should ensure that these education facilities have access to health services, including where possible, health workers designated to take care of the learners should they fall ill,” he said.

Onyino said this will require that the government ensures there are enough health workers in the learning institutions to facilitate assessment of the school population.