Drama ensued in a public primary school in Nalondo zone, Bungoma Central sub county in Bungoma county when a 58 year old teacher refused to heed instructions to work from home even after official release by his headteacher.
Mr. Michael (Name withheld) is said to have caused trouble immediately he was invited by his headteacher in office over the issue of working from home following the directive by the President and the Teachers Service Commision (TSC) to exempt them from in person engagements.
The President had ordered State officers above 58 years to work remotely during this surge in Covid-19 cases.
TSC in response asked its staff who fall under the high-risk age of 58 and above to work from home.
Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia also said all teachers with pre-existing conditions should work from home.
TSC announced that all Covid-19 ailments are fully covered under the teachers’ AON medical scheme.
However she said the teachers can be utilized for other duties which they can do while at home.
“They can be utilised in offering critical duties such as preparing schemes of work, teaching aids and marking, among others. We assure them of the safety of their jobs,” said Dr Macharia.
Mr. Michael did not take the issue lightly when the headteacher wanted to assign him some light duties to do while at home.
The teacher demanded for official TSC circular in order for him to accept the directive to work from home.
He said he cannot take words from the street when TSC is known for firing teachers left, right and centre unless there is a circular for that cause of action.
The headteacher is said to have given up after hours of persuasion. The teacher according to his headteacher feared losing his retirement benefits should he get kicked out of the payroll.
The teacher is currently in the school and attending lessons in both Grade 4 and Class 8 after defying the directive to stay home to combat the spread of Covid-19 and protect the vulnerable from the effects of the pandemic.
TSC CEO Nancy Macharia had urged teachers aged 58 years and above to stay at home.
She said TSC has negotiated with AON Minet for teachers to be covered for Covid-19 pandemic. She had also assured teachers that they will not be sacked or victimized.
“As this is a Presidential directive, your employers will not sack you. TSC has negotiated for teachers to be covered for Covid-19 related illnesses,” Nancy Macharia said.”
She said the teachers should concentrate on paperwork as their colleagues work on teaching and learning in school.
“They should concentrate on paperwork as those in school work on teaching and learning.” she said.
Data shows that at least 36 teachers have died of Covid-19 since March 2020.
Data from the teachers’ medical insurance scheme AON Minet reveals that at least one death has been recorded every month since June.
And in other months, up to three deaths have been recorded in data that also reflected the national infections and death figures.
Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (Kessha) Chairman Kahi Indimuli said so far 15 principals have died from the disease.
This means nearly half of the total deaths have claimed classroom teachers.
“We have seen that all protections should now be geared towards the teacher, given the number of deaths,” said Indimuli.
The deaths have been recorded in 15 counties, with Nairobi recording the highest at seven fatalities.
Uasin Gishu, Bungoma, Nakuru, Kisumu and Bomet counties have each recorded three deaths since the pandemic started.
Nyandarua, Mombasa, Baringo, Homa Bay, Murang’a, Kakamega, Kwale and Kilifi counties have recorded one death each.
All schools are expected to be fully reopened on January 4th 2021.
This will apply to all continuing PP1 & 2; Grade 1, 2 and 3; Class 5, 6 and 7; and Form 1, 2 and 3 learners.
Pre Primary 1 & 2; Grade 1, 2 & 3; Class 5, 6 & 7; and Form 1, 2 & 3 learners will start their Term 2 on 4th January, 2021 and end on March 19th together with the Grade 4 and candidate classes (Class 8 and Form 4).
Magoha said that all learners, except Class 8 and Form 4 candidates, will proceed for a 7-week holiday to allow for KCPE and KCSE examinations administration and marking.
Grade 4 and incoming Form 1 (Class 8 graduates) learners will stay at home as other learners complete their Term three.
Magoha said Grade 4 CBC learners will transition to Grade 5 in July 2021.
International schools will reopen from January 4th 2021 for all learners still at home.