NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 3- The government has set up a command centre to oversee the re-opening of schools on Monday, in an elaborate government plan involving all stakeholders.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Dr. Fred Matiangi Sunday said all loopholes had been sealed to ensure the re-opening is smooth while guaranteeing the safety of learners.
Kenya was set to re-open schools Monday following closure in March 2020 when the first case of COVID-19 was detected in the country.
“The government has been spending time on planning for our children and the education sector,” Matiangi said after a meeting with stakeholders.
He also announced that President Uhuru Kenyatta had issued an Executive order extending the dusk to dawn curfew and other containment measures until March 12.
“The President has issued an Executive Order extending some of the containment measures to ensure that the eco-system within which our children are going to school remains manageable,” he said, “so the President has extended the curfew days and several containment measures.”
The measures extended Sunday include the closure of bars by 9 pm as directed by the President on November 4 when he revised the night curfew to start at 10 pm to 4 am.
The president said that “whereas the general directions governing religious gatherings shall remain unchanged, any indoor religious gathering other than for the purpose of a wedding or funeral, shall be conducted in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Inter-Faith Council and with all other applicable Ministry of Health guidelines and protocols remaining
On Sunday, Matiangi said the command centre on schools reopening will help stakeholders receive information in real-time, to ensure any challenges that arise are addressed promptly.
On transport, the government has issued a robust transport plan involving the Kenya Railways and the Public Service Vehicles to ensure the safety of learners.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said all Public Service Vehicle drivers will be tested for alcohol to curb road accidents.
“We have also made sure [that] these drivers will not drive for long distances to avoid getting fatigued,” he said. “We have also agreed that there will be no hiking fares. We appreciate that parents are coming from a very difficult period whereby they are constrained financially.”
And to complement the road sector, the Kenya Railways said it will double the capacity of inter-County trains on Monday.
There will be two trains daily on the Mombasa-Nairobi route.
At 9am, he said there will be a train ready to ferry 1,500 parents and students to Nanyuki through the rehabilitated Meter Gauge Railway line.
“We have also directed Kenya Railways to make sure we have a full capacity of intra-city commuter rail. We have 20 trains running tomorrow,” he said.