Following the reopening of schools on October 12th, there was widespread concern of whether it was too soon.
At that point, Kenya was still reporting rather low positivity rates of COVID-19, with the figure playing at above five percent but below ten.
Spike in cases
However, fast forward to two weeks later, Kenya has witnessed a surge of new COVID-19 cases, with the positivity rate consistently above 10 per cent.
In the two weeks, the country reported its highest ever COVID cases in a day, with 1068 people. At the same time, the country also saw its third and fourth highest tallies.
There is no doubt then, that there is a spike, which Dr Lukoye Atwoli called ‘a second spike’, not second wave since we are not testing enough.
Thus, the problem of reopening schools reeks of a rushed decision under the current circumstances. Indeed, a number of schools reported that they were unable to properly meet MoH health guidelines.
Infections in schools
Thus, comes the rising number of infections in school. Mombasa saw two schools closed due to COVID infections among students and teachers. The two schools resorted to closing their gates after some samples taken from students and teachers returned positive cases. Which means then, that the infection would have been worse had all the samples returned within the same timeframe.
Monday morning also woke us with news of a student at Kamusinga High School testing positive for the virus.
The Form Four student presented COVID-19 like symptoms when receiving treatment at Kimilili Sub-County Hospital. Tests confirmed this. This revelation sent panic among students and staff at the school.
The incidents in schools, then, issue a stark reminder of the danger that Kenya’s ill-equipped institutions pose to our children. Considering their infrastructure and the cultures around them, Kenya’s schools could become new clusters for the coronavirus.
It is this reality that has seen Magoha halt further school reopening, a good move considering the prevailing circumstances.