Only two out of 10 pupils are wearing facemasks in village schools after interactions with some Village school heads on how the schools are coping up with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prof Magoha, in his announcement on schools’ reopening, said the Ministry of Education would provide face masks to needy students. However, headteachers like Mr. Mathew Otakamong of Elukho Primary School and Mr. James Okello of Emusala Primary say otherwise.
“From the time we opened there has not been any facilitation from the government. I and the teachers in this school started preparing to identify places for washing hands. From the time the learners resumed on October 12, the first challenge we had was the face masks. A majority of children came without the face masks,” said Mr. Mathew Otakamong
Children in village school reported without masks upon school reopening claiming that they heard over the radio that the government was going to provide face masks for them in school.
Students were therefore expecting to find government-provided masks at their schools and that their headteachers would distribute the masks to them.
Mr. Otakamong said he had to send home three-quarters of the pupils from his school who had reported back to school without face masks.
The headmaster also added that there is still a challenge of ensuring the pupils keep their face masks on all the time while in school.
Students normally take off their masks when playing and only promptly wear their face masks appropriately when a teacher is nearby and, while on their own, they remove them.
According to Mr. Mathew Otakamong, headteachers who are heading a school that is in the interior or in a remote village, they are faced with different challenges every day, and COVID-19 has made things even more difficult in terms of ensuring the safety of the children and making sure they continue receiving their education.
Some village schools headmasters like Mr. Mathew Otakamong for Elukho Primary School in Kakamega say their schools were at least able to provide water and soap for washing hands for their students.
However, having an inadequate supply of water is another major problem. Due to the school’s geographical location, access to tap water remains a pipedream.
Most of the schools in villages only mostly rely on rains since the nearby stream is 100 kilometers away.
“We have a tank but it is dependent on rain. If it does not rain, then getting water becomes a problem. The school itself has no water. Now we have to ask the pupils to bring water from home. So if it rains we are safe,” said Mr. Otakamong.
Mr. James Okello, headteacher Emusala Primary said although all schools need the attention of the Ministry of Education, he wished that they would just shift their focus for a little while to schools that are in inaccessible areas in the villages.