The advice was offered by Dr Loice Ombajo, the Head of the Infectious Disease Unit at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) and an adviser to the Covid-19 Task Force.
Ombajo, in an interview with Citizen TV on Tuesday night, October 27, stated that closure of schools was not an option because learning is a very crucial part in every child’s development. She argued that CSs Magoha and Kagwe should focus on reducing the spread of Covid-19 which spiked after restrictions to curb the spread of the virus were eased.
According to her, the situation in the country is worsening, with hospitals overloaded and health workers contracting the virus. In the phased re-opening of schools, some have already been closed with teachers placed under quarantine.
Tononoka Secondary School principal Mohammed Khamisi also died of Covid-19 a week after infections were reported among 11 teaching staff.
“It is important that children go to school because learning is a very crucial part of a child’s development. We have allowed everything to reopen and then we shall consider the solution to be school closure.
“We should instead think from the reverse. Let us reduce everything else so that we reduce the amount of Covid-19 and get to a point where we can allow children to go back to school,” she stated.
Ombajo wants movement and gatherings restricted, arguing that this is the major cause of the second wave. Businesses are also functioning without regards to Covid-19 restrictions. This means that lockdowns and review of curfews can be put on the table for consideration if the situation worsens.
She added that sensitisation campaigns on Covid-19 measures should be on high gear to remind Kenyans to continue fighting the pandemic through social distancing, wearing of masks, washing and sanitising hands.
According to her, if these options are taken, then schools can be re-opened for all students.
Since President Uhuru Kenyatta reopened the country, political gatherings and rallies have witnessed a mass turnout of followers who do not adhere to social distancing and wearing of masks.
The medic related the situation with Kenyans loosening their guard and relaxation of Covid-19 rules. She added that the health sector may soon be overwhelmed with deaths occurring with 24 hours every day.
Education CS George Magoha disclosed that the government shelved plans to fully reopen schools after concerns over rising daily Covid-19 cases. However, Grade Four, Class 8 and Form 4 candidates were directed to continue with classes in preparation for national exams.
On Monday, September 28, while addressing the National Covid-19 Conference, the Head of State detailed that he would not hesitate to escalate containment measures incase the Covid-19 cases surged.
Kenya recorded her highest daily tally on Thursday, October 22, with 1,068 people testing positive for Covid-19. On Tuesday, October 27, 836 more positive cases and 14 deaths were recorded, raising the total tally to 50,833 cases and 934 fatalities.