Kirinyaga teachers cite lack of water, masks spacing for social distancing and lack of teachers.
AS IT SHOULD BE: Lessons at Mwingi Primary School on Monday, October 12, in an advance reopening test.
Image: LINAH MUSANGI
Teachers in Kirinyaga say the government has failed to put in place measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 when schools reopen next week.
Speaking to the Star on the phone, teachers’ union representatives deplored inadequate facilities schools and said resources were lacking to ensure safety of learners and teachers.
County Knut secretary general Javan Wachira said much as Kenyans have to manage to live with the pandemic, proper safety strategies have yet to be put in place in schools.
“We are totally in support to resume learning but there is ill-preparedness in terms of lining up the facilities in accordance with Ministry of Health protocols,” he said.
“Some schools have high populations of students, yet the classes and the school compounds are too small to enforce the recommended social distancing,” Wachira said.
PRE-COVID CLOSENESS: Kerugoya Girls High School students during a past parade session. Now they will need masks and must practice social distancing..
Image: WANGECHI WANG’ONDU
He also cited lack of adequate water supply to maintain hygiene.
Wachira said the shortage of teachers could lower the standards of education. He said since schools closed in March due to Covid, the long break means many teachers will not resume duty for various reasons.
“Some teachers have left the service due to natural attrition. Others, due to health challenges, pursuit of greener pastures, fear of being infected with the virus, among other reasons. This leaves a big gap that will see the remaining teachers overburdened,” he said.
Washira said the Teachers Service Commission advertising vacancies for 6,674 intern teachers would not help much in closing the gap of departure of experienced teachers.
County Kuppet executive secretary Njogu Mbui urged the government to swiftly end the teachers’ shortage.
He also said the government must ensure a steady supply of water in all schools for handwashing.
“The fight against the virus is being won by adopting high standards of cleanliness. Therefore, water and masks are essentials that should not be lacking in our schools to protect lives.”
Mbui said some students might not return to schools due to transfers, deaths, teen pregnancies, marriages and casual jobs.
He expressed regret that those who will not resume education will miss opportunities to improve their lives.