President Uhuru's Directives on Covid-19 Containment Measures
Through an executive order issued earlier today on January 3, 2021, President Uhuru Kenyatta reviewed measures to help in containing the Covid-19 outbreak that has affected every aspect of life.
The recommendations have been in line with the fact that coronavirus rates have declined and no fatalities have been reported in the last 24 hours but the government has to ensure the wellbeing of school children as they report back to their learning institutions from 4th January 2021.
The revised measures are as briefly stated below:
- Nationwide curfew extended till March 12, 2021. The curfew will be enforced daily from 10.00 PM to 04:00 AM. every day.
- Indoor religious gatherings should be conducted according to the guidelines provided by the Inter-Faith Council and all applicable protocols from the Ministry of Health.
- Overnight events and vigils remain banned.
- Public gatherings and meetings whether political or religious remain suspended for the next 60 days. Weddings and burials/funerals are the exceptions and they should only be conducted with advance approval and a maximum of 150 people. The event should only be held at a venue that can accommodate the guests while ensuring that they adhere to the all guidelines set by the Ministry of Health.
- Teachers and non-teaching staff with preexisting conditions or above 58 years of age should deliver services remotely or in open spaces with natural flowing air.
- County governments to invest in increasing piped and portable oxygen within critical care and isolation facilities to help in managing severe Covid-19 cases.
- All public service vehicles should adhere to a 60% maximum carrying capacity.
Matatu adhering to the 60% carrying capacity (uzalendonews)
Containment Measures for Schools
The reviews included measures to ascertain that the spread of coronavirus is curbed or slowed within schools by adding the following:
- All schools should ascertain that they have enough hand-washing stations per the student population and adhere to the protocols laid by the Ministry of Health in conjunction with the Ministry of Education.
- County health departments to conduct random routine surveillance for coronavirus in schools.
- Non-essential visits by guardians and parents to schools are banned and only allowed during special circumstances and should be in line with the Ministry of Health guidelines. Furthermore, all guests visiting school premises are required to register in the school records and follow all prevention protection guidelines and protocols.
- Every pupil and teacher is required to wear a facemask within the school premises or transport and adhere to strict physical distancing and hand-hygiene.
- In every school, principals or headteachers are required to keep a record of the sick pupils or teachers, and report any cases to the County Health Department immediately.
- All extracurricular activities such as prize-giving days, sports, music, drama, involving more than one school are banned for the next 90 day (3 months). Exchange visits between schools are also banned for 90 ninety days.
A pupil wearing a facemask in class (UNICEF)
The government has urged its citizens to continue adhering to the protocols and guidelines issued by the Ministry of health, including wearing masks, regular handwashing or using hand sanitizers, ensuring physical and social distancing, and disinfecting regularly touched surfaces.
For pupils reporting to school on Monday, 4th January 2021, the measures will help to minimize the cases of coronavirus within school premises.
However, with news from Rwanda showing how the government has constructed adequate classes to ensure physical distancing within schools, some individuals are wondering whether these steps outlined by President Uhuru will be adequate in protecting students in Kenya.