Kenya’s education ministry said Tuesday that select classes would resume this week, after previously declaring the school year lost, following a drop in coronavirus cases.
Kenya shut schools in March along with a slew of other measures to contain the pandemic, including a night curfew, the closure of restaurants and bars, and the cordoning off of main cities.
These measures have been progressively relaxed as cases fall. President Uhuru Kenyatta last week allowed bars to reopen and restaurants to sell alcohol again, while moving the start of an evening curfew from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
Education Minister George Magoha said the “progressive re-opening of schools” will begin with three classes: students in Grade 4 — about halfway through primary school — those in their final year of primary school and those finishing high school.
Key final primary school and high school exams will take place between mid-March and mid-April 2021.
“Although physical distancing will remain a challenge, it should not be used as a bottleneck to keep any child away from school,” Magoha said in a statement.
All students will be required to wear masks, while schools will have to monitor the temperature of students and staff.
“Where there is no running water, schools will use sanitisers,” the statement said.
For several weeks, the health ministry has been recording between about 50 and 250 new infections every day, a slump from highs approaching 900 in just late July.
While testing has also plummeted, prompting some observers to question to what extent official date reflects the extent of the pandemic, the positivity rate has declined from a high of 13 percent at the end of July to about 5 percent in recent weeks.
Kenya has recorded a total of 39,586 cases and 743 deaths.