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Parents worry as schools reopen in Kenya after COVID closure

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primary education

As many as 15 million students are expected to flock back to classrooms this week as schools across Kenya reopened on Monday after a 10-month break imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Hand washing, the wearing of face masks and temperature checks are mandatory for those returning to school.

Parents accompanying their children were happy and concerned at the same time.

"As a parent I am pleased that the children are back in school," said Hildah Musimbi, a parent.

"But at the moment we have got a lot of fear because we really don't know if other children in school have the virus or even if the teachers have the virus, or even if the support staff in school have the virus. 

"So we have that fear but we really hope for the best and we shall keep on praying for our kids to be safe," she said. 

The government has directed schools to convert open spaces into classrooms to avoid overcrowding.

Vaccine next month

Non-essential visits have also been banned.

Teachers and support staff aged 58 and over have been instructed to work from home.

Kenya's health minister Mutahi Kagwe said all plans were in place to ensure the safety of teachers and students.

He said that teachers would be considered alongside other frontline workers once. 

The COVID-19 vaccine is expected to reach Kenya next month.

To manage the high demand for travel following the reopening of schools, Kenya Railways Corporation launched a night passenger train service starting Sunday.

In an executive order issued on Sunday, President Uhuru Kenyatta extended the night curfew until March 12.

He also announced a 60-day ban on all gatherings including political meetings.

Kenya has confirmed over 96,000 virus cases and 1,685 deaths since the outbreak in March.