Parents, students and teachers are at higher risk of coronavirus infection as a fourth wave peaks and schools close in a week, stakeholders have warned.
Schools are set to begin going for the third term holiday next week, marking the end of the recovery of time lost during the pandemic.
The holiday runs between July 17 and July 25 and will give way to learners to proceed to the next class upon reopening.
Stakeholders interviewed by the Star worried the rising coronavirus cases and holiday travel could worsen the Covid-19 situation.
Traditionally, those living in Nairobi have been using the holiday breaks as a time to visit family upcountry.
Associations representing principals say although school heads have little say on how learners should spend their holiday, they want the government to limit travel.
Those pushing for the travel restriction include the Kenya Primary School Heads Association and their secondary school counterparts.
“At the end of the holiday, we don’t want to hear that schools are being closed down to stem the spread of Covid-19. We cannot afford to lose any more time,” the Kepsha chairman Joseph Karuga said.
Kenya Parents Association chairman Nicholas Maiyo had the same concerns.
“Increased travels could easily spike the infections and the effects will be seen when schools reopen. Measures to ensure schools do not close again should be taken,” he said.
The Kessha chairman Indimuli Kahi on Thursday said immunisation had eased their worries about in-person learning.
However, he said they were not sure of the impact the holiday will have on the infection rate, calling on the government to adopt some preventive measures.
He said vaccinating all teachers with the first and second dose will be a sure way of ensuring the virus does not overrun the school system.
“The moment the second vaccine went into my arm, I felt a sudden excitement about returning to school that I had not felt before,” he said.
The 2021 calendar is arguably going to be the shortest, spanning only eight months between July 2021 and March next year.
Term 1 will begin on July 26, learners will also have another one-week break from October 2 to October 10 before they open for the second term the following day. It will run until December 23.
Third term will run from January 3 to March 4 of 2022.
In total, the 2021 school year will have 30 weeks; eight weeks shy of the normal school year.
The calendar is an adjustment of the traditional January- December school cycle that was altered by the closure of learning institutions in March last year.
It will be the first time that the school calendar begins in July.
The new school year will be activity-filled; first, it will mark the roll-out of the Competency-Based Curriculum to Grade 5.
It will also mark the admission to Form 1. Candidates for the 2020 KCPE exams will also be expected to join Form 1 soon after reopening.
Kenya National Examination Council will also be registering the 2021 candidates ahead of the March examinations.
The candidates have also selected preferred secondary schools they would like to join.
During the holiday, the Teachers Service Commission and the curriculum developer will jointly conduct a training for teachers to handle the CBC curriculum in Grade 5.