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All Schools to be Closed By Monday Next Week Following the Outbreak of Covid-19 in Schools - Opinion

BrightonM 10/22/2020

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Barely two weeks after reopening of schools for grade four, class eight and form four students, several schools have already registered positive cases of corona virus disease. According to Wednesday reports on Daily Nation, two students had tested positive for covid-19 in Nandi County. Daily Nation reported that Nandi county government health department had moved in and taken the students to isolation centres.

Radio Maisha presenter Billy Miya on Wednesday reported that two schools in Mombasa had been closed following teachers in those schools testing positive for covid-19. Most media houses on Wednesday evening news noted that 11 teachers of The Star of the sea high school in Mombasa had tested positive for covid-19 disease. This prompted the management to close down the school for fumigation. The note shared on social media by Billy Miya indicated that students were to report back to school on November 2nd.

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Billy further stated that teachers from Tononoka School in Mombasa had also tested positive for this global pandemic. Tononoka School has also been closed. Mombasa county health teams have since taken charge of the situation and more samples from close contacts had been taken for testing.

If 11 teachers of one school can test positive for covid-19 at once, there are chances that many students and teachers have also been infected. Since many schools are ill prepared to handle covid-19 and considering the surging covid-19 cases in the country, the safest option is to close all schools and allow the ministry of health to battle the second wave of covid-19 outbreak before learning resumes.

The national positivity rate has risen to over 12% indicating that all is not well. The Standard on Wednesday reported that Moi teaching and referral hospital in Eldoret is already overwhelmed by covid-19 patients. The doctor who spoke to The Standard seeking anonymity revealed that several staff had also tested positive and the ICU was already full. The ministry of health has also openly admitted that most isolation centres are full with over 1000 hospital admissions at the moment.

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Schools ought to be closed and reopened in January for a number of reasons. First, it will give the ministry of health time to battle the current second wave of covid-19. Contact tracing will be up scaled and positive cases treated without overwhelming healthcare facilities. It will also allow time for schools to adequately prepare. Most schools do not even have a sick bay nor a trained medical staff. They need to use this time to set up one and hire healthcare professionals that can manage suspected or confirmed cases accordingly. Furthermore, most research institutions working on the covid-19 vaccine are optimistic that they would have developed the vaccine by January.  Students can be a little more patient as scientists work on the covid-19 vaccine. Therefore, Education CS Prof George Magoha needs to send all students back home by Monday before it is too late since schools have become a serious threat to their health amid ill preparedness.

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