Church leaders oppose plan to reopen schools

Clerics want the reopening pushed to September

In Summary

• The religious leaders recommend, in case schools reopen, then all learners should be provided with masks.

• They also want all schools to be equipped with the capacity to undertake mass testing.

The National Council Churches of Kenya (NCCK) at a press briefing
The National Council Churches of Kenya (NCCK) at a press briefing

Church leaders have opposed the planned reopening of learning institutions.

The clerics, through the National Council of Churches of Kenya, instead want the reopening pushed to September.

The church leaders further cast doubt on the possibility of holding the KCPE and KCSE exams as planned.

In a proposal to the 'Covid-19 Education Response Committee,' the leaders argued that schools should remain closed until the threat that led to the closure is eliminated.

"The Education ministry should stop assuring the country that the KCSE and KCPE exams are still on course when the prevailing situation implies this is may not be workable," the proposal read.

They urged the government to scale up out-of-class learning and bridge the digital divide.

Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha on May 12 appointed a nine-member committee to advise how to restore normalcy in the Education sector in light of the far-reaching effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The leaders said there is a potential challenge to school administrations in case of an outbreak, mainly because of the lack of qualified medical workers in many learning institutions.

"Reopening schools requires massive investments in social and infrastructural changes," the proposal read.

Prior to reopening, the NCCK suggested that all schools be equipped to undertake mass testing for learners, teachers and non-teaching staff.

They also recommend that all learners be provided with masks.

Adequate space should be provided for learners to observe physical distancing when learning, playing, sleeping, eating and in all other activities.

They also want all learning institutions fumigated and connected to adequate water and other sanitation facilities.