School Reopening, But How Safe Is It?

Parents, learners & stakeholders in dilemma over Ruto's decision to reopen schools despite ongoing floods. Is it safe enough?

President William Ruto on Tuesday, May 8th announced that all schools will be reopening on Monday, May 13th. This is after the unceremonious decision by the Ministry of Education to postpone school reopening dates from 29th April 2024 to a week later. Following the adverse effects of the floods that were experienced in the country, the President then extended the suspension until further notice.

Is the Coast Clear?

While speaking at State House where he was hosting grassroot leaders from Laikipia, the president alleged that according to the assessment of the weathermen and the Government of Kenya, it was now safe to let learners resume learning. According to the president MET has advised that the heavy rains that caused floods have now subsided and the coast is clear for reopening of schools.
He also assured that the government through NG-CDF has directed the repair of classrooms and other learning facilities across Kenya. KNUT SG Oyuu however challenged Ruto’s directive of CDF funds rebuilding schools saying the funds are not even enough.
This promise can only be partially true to a section of schools in the city, where Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu visited on Thursday 9th May. The CS in the company of other colleagues visited Mathare Primary School, Karen C Secondary school among others as he assessed the extent of damage to school infrastructure ahead of the reopening. The question is, what about the other schools not in the city, in the rural areas and those displaced by the floods, who are looking out for them?
Some schools in some parts of the country are still submerged in water, and with the president’s directive, many have been left in dilemma.

Dilemma for Learners & Parents

While President Ruto has advised parents to prepare their children for back to school, a section of parents who were displaced by the floods has been left in dilemma. Due to the floods, these families were displaced from their homes, and now that schools are reopening, they have been left with the tough questions of what step they will take next.
Faced by the tough economic and situational times, these parents are now forced to purchase new learning materials as the others were destroyed by the floods.
Other Kenyans are wondering where they will go as some schools were used as rescue centers, and now that they are re-opening, they need to find another shelter.

Parents in Kisumu and Nakuru are requesting President Ruto not to re-open schools as some schools in their areas are still submerged in water. Classrooms have turned swampy and muddy, with plants germinating. Nyamasau Primary school, Kisumu compound has now become home to big snakes which found a home due to the submerged water and long grass. Learners’ desks and classrooms have been logged in the mud, with the parents asking where will the learners step and learn in if they reopen sooner as directed.
Is it Safe?

With these concerns, several parents who have been joined by Embakasi East Member of Parliament Babu Owino have drawn to the conclusion that the situation is not safe yet and that the president should reconsider his decision.
Babu Owino argues that without proper measures to ensure that learners are safe even with the fluctuating weather in different parts of the country, Ruto’s decision to reopen schools could pose a danger to learners.

Join in the conversation, is it safe for schools to reopen from May 13th? Let us know in the comment section!