Keep learners safe as schools reopen

Monday, May 13th, 2024 06:00 | By
Floods in parts of Kenya
Floods in parts of Kenya. PHOTO/Kenya Red Cross (@KenyaRedCross)/X

Schools are reopening today as heavy rains that have claimed more than 276 lives and displaced thousands of Kenyans subside.

But with about 20 counties, and nearly 2,000 schools, severely impacted, it is urgent to establish adequate mechanisms that will allow learners to continue their education smoothly.

Most of the learners are still young and vulnerable, and additional measures need to be put in place to ensure they arrive in school safely.

The National Flood Emergency Response Command Centre, for example, should keep updating Kenyans on areas where rains can pose a danger to learners. The government has also been monitoring the current conditions and doing needed repairs to ensure that schools reopen safely.

To ensure safe and efficient movement of students and teachers, drivers of public service vehicles should also exercise caution on the roads and refrain from reckless driving, especially now that some of the roads have been damaged.

Enough law enforcement officers should also be deployed on key roads to monitor traffic violations such as speeding, overloading, and use of unroadworthy vehicles.

National government administrators should spearhead the process alongside regional and county directors of education.

State agencies should also, among other things, monitor fragile ecosystems like rivers and other water bodies, as well as bridges.

Some schools are hosting families of learners displaced from their homes by floods, and plans should be put in place to resettle such families.

Other schools were damaged by floods and their reopening delayed. Repairs should be expedited to create a safe and conducive environment for the students to resume learning.

Parents and teachers should also heed government advisories, including those related to weather forecasts, the Ministry of Education’s Safe Reopening Guidelines, the Ministry of Health’s advisories on water and food-borne diseases, and public notices on the conditions of our roads, railways and water bodies.

We understand the dangers and vulnerabilities that accompany heavy rains, as well as the lethargy of officialdom. That is why concerns about the safety of learners should be taken seriously and addressed.

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