Kenya: Kuppet Urges Review on Use of Schools as COVID-19 Quarantine Centres

Nairobi — The Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) has asked the government to review the use of schools as quarantine and isolation centers for coronavirus patients in the country .

The union's Vice Chairperson Julius Korir made the appeal on Saturday amid concerns of poor coordination between the relevant government agencies on how to handle the situation in the selected schools.

At least 20 boarding schools per county have been earmarked for conversion into makeshift hospitals should the need arise.

Korir called for the suspension of the exercise until a review is concluded on how schools in Nairobi have handled the exercise after the first cohort of isolated persons leave the institutions on April 7.

"It appears that the Ministry of Education and the Teachers Service Commission officers on the ground are not well-briefed on the use of the schools as isolation centers. In turn, they have not adequately briefed the principals on how to manage all aspects of the operation," he said.

Decrying that the level of preparedness, Korir further put a spotlight on the government over allegations it had failed to provide protective gear, such as face masks, disinfectants, gumboots and gloves to principals and support staff handling isolated persons, including cooks and guards lamenting that these risks exposing them to the virus.

He further expressed concerns that the government was not forthright in providing resources to support isolated persons based at selected schools forcing school heads to use their institutions' resources.

"Principals are confused as to who will reimburse the institutions for the expenditure on the isolated persons, which is expected to rise as more cases are confirmed," he said.

Deputy President William Ruto had on March 30 said that the Ministry of Education was working with county governments to identify at least 20 boarding schools in each devolved unit which will be converted into makeshift hospitals for COVID-19 patients should cases recorded in the country increase.

Kenya has so far recorded 122 coronavirus cases with four deaths having been reported so far. Four patients had recovered as at Friday, April 3.

Globally, over a million people have been infected by the the pandemic with over 59,000 deaths reported. 229,000 people had recovered as at Friday, April 3.

The United States had registered close to 1,500 deaths.

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