Re-opening of educational institutions within the context of COVID-19, requires adequate preparations by the education sector, line ministries, County Governments, institution managers and administrators, teachers, parents and religious organisations to work in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the entire institutions ecosystem.
The basic education sub sector provides a platform for promoting health and safety and will encourage learners/ trainees and staff to become advocates of disease prevention and control at home, in institutions, and in the communities.
The following principles outline how public health recommendations in the context of COVID- 19 can be made practicable, how communities and education partners can provide support, and what the path to re-admission of pupils, students, and trainees when the institutions re-open will look like.
The guidelines will assist institution management and communities to prepare for reopening of learning and also ensure safe environments for effective curriculum delivery. They will need to be adapted to context- specific needs depending on local conditions and the public health situation.
Preparations process for Reopening of Educational Institutions at a glance
Prior to Re-opening of educational institutions
-In line with MOE guidelines, institutions to develop policies and procedures suitable in their own environment to enable smooth reopening of the institution.
-Provide budget to institute safe and protective learning environment by putting in place all health protocols required in the fight against COVID -19
-Device appropriate flexible learning environment by using e learning and offline learning platforms to cater for those who might miss school due to illnesses and other causes.
-Put in place most suitable communication strategies to ensure proper message on COVID -19 reaches all key stakeholders
-Put proper mechanisms in place to prevent and respond to COVID- 19
-Build capacities of Parents, teachers, non- teaching staff and learners in preparation for reopening of the institutions
– Revise institution budget to prioritize infrastructure to maintain social distance, provision of water, sanitation and hygiene to mitigate risks, and focus on remedial education and training to compensate for lost instructional time.
With institution’s Re-opened
-Adopt proactive approaches to reintegrate most vulnerable learners and trainees in order to pick up quickly in learning.
– Sustain infrastructure, water and all other hygiene protocol to mitigate risks
-Adjust institution’s timetable and learning pedagogy to ensure coverage of syllabus without straining learners
-Embrace use of flexible and blended learning to cater for all learners including those with learning difficulties
-Actively monitor health indicators, expanding focus on health, safety and wellbeing of learners, trainees, teachers, and non-teaching staff.
-Strengthen pedagogy, adapt remote education for blended teaching, and learning, including knowledge on infection, prevention and control and, promote parental engagement and community involvement to support learning.
Preparations for Reopening Educational Institutions
In preparation for reopening of educational institutions, Heads of institutions should carry out the following;
1. Build the capacity of institutional staff, learners, Boards of management and parents on the management of COVID-19,
- Ensure adequate clean running water and sanitation facilities in the institution and procure water tanks where applicable,
- Develop awareness messages and build the capacity of learners, teachers, non –teaching staff, parents and entire institution community on key infection prevention and control measures in order to promote good hygiene practices,
- Develop the protocols on hygiene and social distancing measures to be put in place before re-opening,
- Stock up the institution with key supplies including disinfectants, liquid soaps, non-touch thermometers, face masks and first aid kits
- Collaborate with institution sponsors to ensure provision of psychosocial and spiritual services,
- Map an emergency health facility that is within 10 km and collaborate with County government to have some health personnel assigned to the institution for regular health monitoring and sensitizations,
- Carry out risk assessment for suitability focusing on space, water, sanitation, provision of meals, transport of learners using the risk assessment matrix provided by MOE, ( Appendix 1) and develop mitigation measures,
- A multi-sectoral team will conduct assessment on the feasibility and readiness of institutions to ascertain the levels of preparedness using the mapping of readiness checklist provided by MOE ( Appendix 2)
- Ensure compliance to guidelines for issuance of letter of compliance to the institutions,
- Communicate to parents, teachers, learners, trainees on:
- Health and safety measures put in place to guarantee the health and safety of learners and trainees, teachers, non-teaching staff, parents and entire community.
- Re-opening of the institution based on the calendar released by the ministry,
- Sensitize parents and the entire communities on their role in ensuring health and safety of learners, trainees and staff,
- Sensitize parents, teachers non-teaching staff and community members on the importance of hygiene practices and social distancing both at homes and in institutions;
- Sensitize all learners, using age and gender appropriate Information Education Communication materials on COVID-19 prevention and control;
- Constitute institutional COVID -19 response committee to coordinate response strategies comprising of five (5) members, one being a learner/ trainee, a non-teaching staff, one BOM member and teachers,
- Ensure there is a designated room within the institution premises for use as a sick bay or for temporary isolation in case presumed cases occur in institutions,
- Collaborate with Ministry of Health through the sub county education office to map quarantine centres at least one per sub-county in case of reoccurrence of the outbreak.
18. Care must be taken in isolation of minors especially the girl child. Ensure students’ rights are always safeguarded at all cost.
During and After Reopening of Institutions
During and after reopening, the institution management will take the following steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the educational institutions.
- Ensure revision of institution rules and regulations and daily routine to be responsive to the changes occasioned by COVID-19 Pandemic.
- Maintain a positive demeanour on governments efforts to prevent the spread of COVID- 19,
- Develop or update all institution contingency plans,
- Ensure institutions reorganize respective activities to ensure a social distance of at least meter in all aspects of the institution (classrooms, lecture halls, dormitories, halls of residence, libraries, workshops, dining halls, water points etc),
- Maintain updated bio data of all learners/trainees and contact numbers and home addresses of the parents/ guardians/caregivers for ease of management of emergencies,
- Ensure that information on COVID-19 related measures is accessible to all learners/trainees, including those with disabilities, through sign language interpretation, captioning, and easy to read formats, among others,
- Maintain a complete database of teachers and non-teaching staff information on contact numbers and addresses of their next of kin,
- Ensure behavioural change, health education and training sessions are offered to learners/ teachers and non-teaching staff to maintain desired behaviours on hygiene and social distancing,
- Keep parents and guardians informed of the physical and behavioural changes expectedand to be implemented in the schools/colleges
- Ensure consistent provision of clean running water (At least 5litres per person per day for day scholars and 20litres per person for boarders) and adequate water storage facilities. An institution will not be allowed to be in session in the absence of clean running water.
- Provide, Renovate, improve, or install (as necessary) age, disability and gender appropriate hygiene facilities like washrooms, toilets, and bathroom s to ease congestion,
- Ensure availability of liquid soap, hand washing facilities, disinfectants, thermos guns, and face masks and enforce their utilization,
- Provide clear communication to education institutions and parents/guardians on arrangements for learners/trainees in boarding institutions, hand washing stations at proximity of users (entrances and common areas) of institutions and offices to promote regular hygiene, Develop learner/trainee’s movement protocols including designating entrances and
- Clean and disinfect institution buildings, including toilets using water and disinfectants and frequently touched surfaces such as desktops, door handles, switches, door frames and book covers,
- Develop a program for cleaning and for use of institution ground/facilities to ensure hygiene and social distancing,
- Ensure adequate security and safety measures, including provision of a fence/ barrier and guards to restrict entry to and exit from the institutional premises,
- Restrict entrance of visitors in the institution and cancel institution events such as career and motivation days until further notice,
- Equip institution’s sick bays/clinics with basic supplies to cater for emergencies paying special attention to learners/trainees with disabilities and those with pre-existing conditions such as asthma,
- Establish and operationalize an institution COVID-19 response committee of not more than 5 members including 1 learner/trainee, and a member of non-teaching staff,
- Ensure institutions are equipped with ICT facilities and train learners/trainees and teachers on their utilization as well as strengthen the digital literacy programme,
- Strengthen the guidance and counselling departments as well as chaplaincy services in the institutions
- Establish surveillance aimed at early detection of unexplained respiratory infections, monitor learners/trainees body temperatures and maintain health record books,
- Ensure compliance to specified health requirements on social distancing, regular hand washing, fumigation and sanitizing and disinfecting surfaces,
- Ensure learners/trainees, teachers and non –teaching staff wear face masks at all times.
- Develop criteria of identifying learners/trainees and staff who may require specialised psycho-social support and link them to certified counsellors /social workers,
- Ensure all learners/ trainees in the institution are free from being stigmatized about COVID-19 by any member of the institution community.
- Revise and re-adjust the institution budgets to reflect the current priorities addressing the impact of COVID-19 such as improved hygiene management ,
- Prepare structured and regular spiritual services for the institution community,
- Identify learners/trainees, teachers and other staff with pre-existing health conditions and ensure appropriate health attention
- Develop institutional based guidelines on improving hygiene practices for exits for different learner cohorts, sectioned off common spaces, and floor markings to direct foot-traffic flows, learners/trainees, teachers and non-teaching staff and enforce compliance,
- Provide support to most vulnerable learners/trainees including those living with disabilities, the girls and children without access to meals and those with high risk health conditions,
- Ensure enhanced and sustained feeding programmes to promote health and school attendance.
- Follow up on all cases of absenteeism in liaison with Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government to minimise drop outs,
- Streamline learner/trainee transport management systems to prevent transmission of infections,
- Sensitize parents/guardians and communities on health and safety measures taken by institutions to guarantee the well-being of returning learners/trainees,
- Weekly progress Report on the status of institution health and safety that might compromise curriculum implementation will be submitted to Sub–County Director of Education,
- Communicate regularly, clearly and accurately information to learners and staff to ensure that they are kept informed of important developments.