School heads and the Kenya National Union of Teachers have come out to explain the situation facing teachers in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Kenya Secondary Schools Heads Association (Kessha) chairman Kahi Indimuli said the teachers are ready to go back to class any time they are required.
“They are at home because of the current situation where they can’t be in class because of the virus. But principals, head teachers and other senior teachers are on duty, just making sure that everything is alright at the schools,” Mr Indimuli said.
Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion noted that teachers will continue earning their pay because the situation was beyond them. “The government, Unesco and WHO have all called for preservation of wages. Teachers will continue to earn their salaries since the code of regulations puts them on duty throughout, unless a teacher has written leave of absence,” Mr Sossion said.
He said the focus now should be on what should be done to ensure that when learners go back to classes, the environment is suitable for them and all the Ministry of Health protocols on Covid-19 are met to ensure safety of teachers and learners.
In their presentation titled ‘Effects of Coronavirus Pandemic on Education – Mitigation Measures, Analysis and Recommendations on Reopening of Schools, Colleges and Universities’, Knut, Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) and Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Doctors Union (KMPDU), outlined critical guidelines to provide minimum standards for schools reopening.
The groups called for policy reforms to address all dimensions of the guidelines, including clear policies for school opening and closure during public health emergencies, reforms needed to expand equitable access for marginalised and out of school children as well as strengthen and standardise remote learning practices.
“Government and development partners should come up with financing requirements to address the impact of Covid-19 on education and invest in strengthening education systems for recovery and resilience,” Sossion said.
The agencies also called for safe operations to ensure conditions that reduce disease transmission, safeguard essential services and supplies and promote healthy behaviour. This includes access to soap and clean water for safe hand-washing, procedures on when staff or students feel unwell, social distancing and good hygiene practices.