The government has assured learners of their health and safety in schools and asked parents who are yet to release their children to school to do so without fear.
Regional Development PS Dr. Margaret Mwakima said on Wednesday that government had put in place adequate measures in the institutions to ensure that students do not contract the novel pandemic while in school.
Speaking at the St. Andrews Primary School in Malindi Town after a three-day inspection tour of schools in Kilifi County, Dr. Mwakima noted that the main challenge that had made some students not to report back to schools was fear of contracting Covid-19.
“We want to tell students, parents and the general public out there that the government has put all the necessary protocols in place to ensure there is no contact with the Covid-19 virus and that there is no spread of the disease within schools,” she said.
The PS said the schools were working with the National Government Administrative Officers (NGAO) at all levels to ensure that students who had not reported back to school after the long holiday occasioned by the pandemic are taken back to school.
“So, wherever you are, if you are of school going age, whether you are currently in the beach, whether because of the social issues you could have found yourself pregnant or whatever reason there may be, we are asking you to report back to school,” implored Mwakima.
She warned that parents who would hold their children at home for any reason would be required to explain their children’s whereabouts and face dire consequences if found deliberately keeping them away from school.
“Chiefs, assistant chiefs and the village elders are on high alert and if they find you as a parent holding the child and the child is not going to school, then you will explain why and also ensure that that child goes back to school,” she said.
She said girls who conceived during the pandemic, including those who had already given birth, were being accepted back in school and that the stigma associated with pregnancies of school girls was being managed and the victims were integrating well with other learners.
The PS said the government had built extra classrooms, made additional desks and waived school fees in primary schools and that pupils had no reason whatsoever to be out of school.
“We are urging, we are directing, we are requesting that there must be 100 percent reporting back to school and we have put the systems in place to ensure that this is achieved,” said the PS.
Dr. Mwakima, who is leading a team on three PSs on a tour of Kilifi, Lamu and Tana River Counties visited schools in all the eight sub counties of Kilifi county while her counterparts, Dr. Julius Juan (Vocational Training) and Johnson Mwangi Weru (Trade) toured Tana River and Lamu Counties respectively.
Dr. Mwakima said an average of 85 percent of all public and private school students in both primary and secondary schools had reported back to school and that since reopening on 4th January, no school had reported any case of Covid-19 infection.
She said though a number of school girls in primary and secondary schools had been reported to be pregnant, those learners had been allowed back to school and that there was no cause for alarm.