Schools reopening is in limbo after a fresh order was issued today that may see learners stay home longer.
The Ministry of Education suffered the blow after the Kisii High Court directed that schools be reopened only after complying with COVID-19 regulations.
This new directive by the court is a huge blow especially after the government admitted that it can’t meet the cost for protecting teachers and learners against the deadly virus when schools reopen.
In his judgment, Justice K. Ndung’u endorsed the mediation agreement between eight parents who filed the petition on May 28, 2020 and the respondents who include Cabinet Secretary for Education; Ministry of Education Science and Technology; the Attorney General and the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development.
“Upon hearing the petitioners, counsels for the respondents and the mediator Mr. John Onyiego, it is therefore ordered that the mediation agreement duly signed by parties and dated August 25, 2020 and which is duly signed by all parties is adopted as the judgment of the court,” the judge ruled on Thursday.
Two days ago, Education CS George Magoha announced the re-opening of public and private schools following six months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prof. Magoha said the progressive re-opening will begin with students in Grade 4, Class Eight and Form Four who are expected back to school from Monday, October 12.
The CS directed that students returning to school continue with learning until December 23, 2020, when the second term will come to an end, then proceed for a one-week Christmas break.
However, one of the petitioners—Mr. Oloo Gor—has warned that they will file contempt of court in case the Education Ministry proceeds to open schools for Grade 4, Class 8 and Form Four on October 12, 2020 without ensuring that they have adhered to COVID-19 rules.
The rules include regular washing of hands, staying at home if sick and social distancing.