Teachers could be forced to undergo coronavirus tests ahead of the reopening, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha says.
“We are considering whether all teachers, who will resume work in September, will undergo Covid-19 tests,” said Magoha.
The announcement came as questions emerged on whether learners will also be tested before classes resume.
Another major concern was whether the government has capacity for mass testing, considering that medics have advised that students be tested before resuming school, and positive cases advised to stay home until they recover.
In an advisory report last month, doctors also urged the government to carefully plan the transport system to stem transmissions from school to homes. Experts also advised the State to provide face masks to learners and ensure proper use and regular changing of the protective gear.
Speaking yesterday after he inspected the progress of manufacturing face masks for learners at Rivatex East Africa in Eldoret, Prof Magoha said 24 million pieces will be delivered to schools in August ahead of the reopening.
“Once we agree on the prototype, then we will get the pricing so that when schools open in September, face masks will be in the institutions by mid-August as per the presidential directive,” Prof Magoha said. Magoha said the ministry had engaged five face mask manufactures, including the National Youth Service (NYS).
The mass production of face masks by Rivatex will resume as soon as the Ministry of Health approves the prototype, Magoha said. Rivatex Managing Director Thomas Kipkurgat said they are ready for the task after increasing production from 50,000 to 80,000 pieces a day.
“We are yet to know how many masks we will produce. But compared to other manufacturers, we have the largest capacity,” Kipkurgat said. Rivatex may also hire more tailors depending on how many masks it will be assigned to produce by the ministry.
Yesterday, Magoha said schools will receive masks and sanitation facilities by mid-August in readiness for reopening. The CS said President Uhuru Kenyatta had directed the ministry to deliver the masks on time but discussions between the Ministry of Education and that of Health are yet to conclude on whether learners in lower primary will be allowed to wear masks.