It’s now almost four months since coronavirus was detected in Kenya followed by serious containment measures. As of today, we have 15,601 confirmed cases, 7,135 recovered cases, and 263 deaths. The rate of infection has increased almost 200% since May. After three months of quarantine the economy was severely affected, and the government allowed movement and the opening of the economy in various sectors. However, it is evident that many people will have to close their businesses due to loss of revenue or more costs of doing business if they were to reopen. Institutions of learning and children’s homes remain closed until January 2021, but tertiary institutions will be allowed to begin a phased-out reopening in September 2020.
As I reported in the previous report, we have been supporting our children who are not living with various families – extended family and friends – in various parts of the country. The food distribution program continues to be helpful to many of them.
Most of the families earn daily wages for daily food with no savings at all, and they could not go out to look for jobs due to the country wide lockdown that was just recently eased, plus scarcity of jobs after some businesses collapsed and jobs lost.
We have had also to consider ways in which our children would continue with their studies online since some of their guardians do not have TVs where they could watch the government’s two-hours daily education programs nor could they afford smartphones. We managed to purchase smart phones to allow them to participate in online learning with direct interactions with their teachers and virtual classrooms as shown from a sample of messages sent students through whatsapp.
We are therefore facilitating students with data bundles. It has been a new, challenging but fulfilling time as teachers and students learn new ways of doing things.
Covid-2019 Preparedness for Reopening in January 2021
The ministry of education has given strict reopening guidelines and as we prepare to open, there are preparations needed such as: buying sanitizers, building sanitization centers, purchasing thermal guns and face masks, partition dormitories, build new classroom and learning spaces, prepare isolation rooms, introduce Covid-19 friendly sports, hire a nurse, etc. Clearly, the minimal essentials will require over $10,000 but the cost of construction will need more than $100,000.
Due to increase in number of our students and congestion in the classes, we had already projected on the need to add some more classrooms. This is now compounded by Covid-19 social distancing rules. The government is proposing that every class should accommodate 15-20 children in order to curb the pandemic. That would imply that for us to be able to contain the number of students we need to have even more classrooms than earlier envisioned. However, we will do what is feasible and probably downsize but we will keep you posted. On the high school side, we have began a discussion to partner/merge with a similar school. I will send more updates.
We got a loan to begin some of the construction works and we have been completing the high school building – third floor. We also have started to work some primary school classes which the government had been telling us to work on based on their specifications. These will help us to submit a proposal on reopening to the government by October after which we will wait for reopening approval.