It isn't possible to test all teachers, learners ahead of reopening - Health Ministry - Beaking Kenya News

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Monday, 6 July 2020

It isn't possible to test all teachers, learners ahead of reopening - Health Ministry

Kenya would require about Sh1 billion to conduct the test on these teachers.

The government has said it is not possible to get all the 300,000 teachers tested ahead of the schools' reopening scheduled for September.

Health CAS Dr Rashid Aman on Sunday said the situation is made worse by the cost of conducting the tests and difficulties being experienced in the supply lines.

This comes after Education CS George Magoha said that all teachers and support staff be tested for the Coronavirus before schools resume.

Magoha last week said the tests should be conducted two weeks before schools reopen and another test done 14 days after reopening.

Kenya is estimated to have 317,069 teachers and millions of learners across primary and secondary schools.

Kenya would require about Sh1 billion to conduct the test on these teachers.

"Testing will be a continuous process once pupils and students go back to school," he said.

Magoha said learning will only resume after the government is certain that all preventive measures are put in place in  learning institutions.

He directed administrators to ensure a steady supply of water in all buildings and that toilets remain clean.

"There should be as many handwashing points for children as possible to ensure high hygiene standards," the CS said.

But the Health Ministry on Sunday said testing such a huge number would be a big challenge.

"We must say this with regards to the context of timing and when education resumes. Schools are likely to resume early next year and testing such a huge number would be challenging to us," Aman said.

The CAS said there needs to be a consensus between all stakeholders on the best approach that would be used to test the teachers, staff and learners.

"There needs to be a review on our testing strategy to identify useful and informative information that can determine on the best approach to conduct the tests," Aman said.

Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha speaks during a meeting with TTC Principals on measures to take and management of Institutions to control Covid-19 at Kenya School of Government Embu County on July 5, 2020.
Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha speaks during a meeting with TTC Principals on measures to take and management of Institutions to control Covid-19 at Kenya School of Government Embu County on July 5, 2020.
Image: COURTESY

CS Magoha said if the virus curve is not flattened early enough, then the September reopening would be impossible.

The CS said consultations among key stakeholders, including parents and teachers’ unions, are all in agreement that schools can only re-open once the Covid-19 curve is flattened.

“The position of the parents has been very firm that we don’t open until the curve is flattened and the parents are the major shareholders,” he said, citing a similar position from the Council of Governors.

“They also said they will not allow the schools to be re-opened until the curve is flattened.”

As of Sunday, Kenya had reported 7,886 Covid-19 cases  with 160 deaths since the first case was reported in March.

The Health Ministry said there is an indication that the numbers are going to surge with more people requiring critical care.

According to Aman, the country has been reporting a daily average of 261 cases for the past one week.

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