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70pc of Kenyans don’t back school reopening, poll shows

By Bernard Gitau
Monday, June 15th, 2020
President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses the nation. Photo/PSCU
In summary

Bernard Gitau @benagitau

Majority of Kenyans do not support the re-opening of schools in September, a new poll by Infotrak has shown.

The survey, released yesterday, shows 70 per cent of Kenyans do not think it is a good idea to reopen schools because the disease is not yet under control.

The biggest concern for Kenyans is a likely spike in the rate of coronavirus infections among children.

The poll shows the highest number of people opposed to the reopening schools in September are in Nairobi and Nyanza (81 per cent), Rift Valley (74 per cent, Eastern and Central (69 per cent). 

Some of the concerns Kenyans have is that reopening learning institutions when the virus is not under control could led to Covid-19 spread.

The question of how schools will enforce social distancing and concerns over whether schools can keep children safe is also a worry to many Kenyans.

Resume studies

During his latest address to the Nation, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the Ministry of Education in liaison with the Ministry of Health to come up with modalities that will result in students resuming studies beginning September 2020.

“Following stakeholders’ consultation in the education sector, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education to jointly issue guidelines on a gradual return to normalcy in the education sector from September 1,” the President said.

The Head of State directed the Education ministry to publish the new academic calendar by mid-August.

The number of Covid-19 cases in Kenya now stands at 3,594 after 137 more people tested positive in the last 24 hours.

According to Infotrak, 41 per cent fear there is likely to be a spike in infection rates while 21 per cent say the chances of children contracting the virus in school and spreading is very high.

On the other hand 15 per cent question how schools ensure social distancing. On reopening of places of worship, majority of Kenyans, (59 per cent), support the reopening with Coast and Western regions indicating the most support.

 Last Friday, Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and his Health counterpart Mutahi Kagwe jointly appointed an Inter-Religious Council chaired by Catholic Archbishop Anthony Muheria to review re-opening of churches.

Archbishop Muheria was mandated to guide the council on development of stringent protocols for a phased re-opening of places of worship in guidelines expected to allow a more participatory mode of worship under the Covid-19 pandemic.

 “Pursuant to the President’s directive for the development of protocols that will guide the re-opening of places of worship, CS Kagwe and I have jointly appointed The Inter Faith Council that will guide this process,” said Matiang’i.

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