The state of students and schools hangs in the balance as plans to reopen schools are discussed by stakeholders. Students have been at home and have missed out on six weeks of the school calendar. This has prompted talk on when schools will be opened for syllabus coverage to resume.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Education CS George Magoha

In April, President Uhuru Kenyatta hinted at the partial re-opening of schools later in the year. This came before Education CS suspended learning in schools by another month to June 4. As this tentative date approaches and the number of COVID-19 cases rising by the day, partners in the education sector are in a dilemma on whether the education sector can reopen soon.

Parents, KNUT, and some other stakeholders have hinted at a reopening that falls in the last quarter of the year. This differs from the views of the government and other stakeholders, who include KUPPET, who are proposing a closer reopening date. The COVID-19 education Emergency Response Committee that was set up to come up with a back to normal roadmap has not yet tabled its proposals to the Education Cabinet Secretary. This has prompted increased speculations among stakeholders.

Students at a past school function

With students dependent on the government for directives, the push and pull around the opening dates continue to increase their anxiety. Those in candidate classes bear most of the anxiety as the dates will determine when they will be able to sit for their exams. However, even in the wrangles, their welfare has been a priority with most proposals indicating that they will be among the first to go back to schools.

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With reports indicating that there has been a surge in countries that reopened schools before flattening the COVID-19 curve, stakeholders are looking to avoid this scenario. Most are looking to countries such as Japan, Germany, and China which reopened their schools after managing the spread of the virus.

As days go by, many citizens, especially students, will be eager to see what the government decides on after consultations with relevant stakeholders.