Schools in Kenya reopened Monday after being closed since March due to the coronavirus. But Kenya has yet to contain the pandemic and there are concerns among teachers and parents about being exposed to the infection.
Kenya shut schools in mid-March as a measure to contain the virus, which has infected more than 96,900 people and has killed nearly 1,700 people in the country, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Forty-seven-year-old Ken Ouko is a father of four. Ouko says he worries that students will not follow safety protocols when they return to school and will bring the virus home.
“There will be some degree of protection but kids are still going to interact. What we noticed in a normal school day is that these kids don’t even wash their hands, even when they have been told to wash their hands, but they still touch each other. They will be playing football together; they will be riding bikes together. When they are in the buses, they are playing games. It’s not very easy to control them in my opinion.”
Visiting one of the schools in Nairobi, Education Minister George Magoha said parents should try to remain positive as schools reopen so children can resume their lessons.
“When you look at the body and spirit of a teacher, the body and spirit of the children, do they require encouragement or discouragement? Let us encourage them; that’s all I can say for now. We may not be perfect, there are many children here. If water becomes a problem, we are on standby to ensure that they have water, so they are able to wash their hands when they come out.”
Teachers say it will be difficult to maintain physical distance, as most schools do not have enough classrooms to spread out the students. (Reuters/VOA)