New Kenya School Term Dates 2020/2021 after Covid-19 Pandemic – Phased Reopening of Schools by Ministry of Education

The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the Whole education sector in the world and Kenya School Term Dates in particular. All schools and other academic institutions in Kenya were abruptly closed indefinitely in Mid March 2020 after the first Covid-19 case was reported in Kenya in 12th March 2020.

This closure has rendered the common manner of learning in Kenya impossible, safe for those who are digital savvy and those who can afford the elearning model.

Some high-end schools have managed to sustain the eLearning model. Teachers and students in these schools, especially candidates sitting for their KCPE and KCSE, have benefited from this learning. But the majority of the students and candidates have been left to wallow in ignorance due to lack of ways and means to eLearning.

During the June 6, 2020, briefing by President Uhuru Kenyatta in Statehouse Nairobi, he directed the Ministry of Education, together with other relevant stakeholders, that by mid-August 2020, they should come up with a New Kenya School Term Dates, academic calendar and a roadmap of how to reopen the Primary Schools, Secondary Schools, Colleges and Universities.

This follows a very thorough consultative forum that recommended that it was still unsafe for schools to reopen in June 2020. This was because the rate of Coronavirus infection in Kenya was rising day by day.

Social distancing in public schools poses a major challenge especially because physical contact is the major cause of the spread of the Coronavirus amongst people.

Washing of Hands and wearing of masks by the children in lower primary news will also pose a major challenge. This is because some schools do not have enough water supply and soap for the huge number of pupils they accommodate.

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In September 2020, the Ministry of Education came up with a proposal that will see the primary and secondary schools using the 8-4-4 and CBC system be re-opened in phases using the Alternative Day System (ADS) (for primary and day secondary schools) and the Shift Learning System (SLS) for boarding secondary schools. The phased re-opening of schools in Kenya can be achieved safely and at minimal cost, as proposed below.

Kenya School Term Dates – Summary of the Phased Schools Reopening Proposal

  • Class 8 and Form 4 Exam Candidates to report to school on Monday, 26th October 2020 (subject to Ministry of Health clearance)
  • Pre-School, Grade 1 to 4, Class 5 to 7 and Form 1 to 3 to repeat the 2020 academic year and report to school on Monday, 4th January 2021
  • The 2020 KCPE Exams to take place from Tuesday, 30th March 2021 to 1st April 2021 (Subject to KNEC logistics)
  • The 2020 KCSE Exams to take place from Tuesday, 6th April 2021 to Friday, 30th April 2021 (Subject to KNEC logistics)
  • Primary School pupils to attend school on alternate days (Lower grades to attend on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Upper grades to attend on Monday, Wednesday, Fridays. Class 7 and 8 will attend from Monday to Friday)
  • Secondary Boarding School students to attend classes on shift. There will be a Morning and Afternoon/Evening Shift. Form 1 and 2 will attend the Morning Shift, Form 3 and 4 will attend the Afternoon/Evening Shift
  • Secondary Day School Students to attend on alternate days. Form 1 and 2 to attend on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Form 3 on Monday, Wednesday, Fridays, Form 4 from Monday to Friday.

Details of the Phased Reopening of Schools in Kenya Proposal

Class 8 KCPE 2020 Exam Candidates

25th October 2020: Pupils to report for Term 2 of 2020 academic year. This will last for 8 weeks.

18th December 2020: Pupils to close for 2 (two) weeks for December holidays.

4th January 2021: Pupils to report to school for third term 2020. This term will last for 12 weeks.

30th March 2021: Pupils to sit for the KCPE 2020 Exams for 3 days

1st April 2021: KCPE 2020 Exams end and Class 8 pupils exit school.

Form 4 KCSE 2020 Exam Candidates

25th October 2020: Students to report for Term 2 of 2020 academic year. This will last for 8 weeks.

18th December 2020: Students to close for 2 (two) weeks for December holidays.

4th January 2021: Students to report to school for third term 2020. This term will last for 13 weeks.

6th April 2021: Students to sit for the KCSE 2020 Exams for 4 weeks.

30th April 2021: KCSE 2020 Exams end and Form 4 students exit school.

Both KCPE and KCSE will take place when schools have closed for April holidays on as per KNEC procedures. Hence all schools must close by Friday, 26th March 2021 and re-open for 2nd Term on Monday, 3rd May 2021.

Phased Reopening for Primary Schools – Pre-School/Grade 1 to 7)

To use the Alternative Day System (ADS). Only half of the school population is present on any single day to allow social distancing.

4th January 2021: Grade 4, Class 5,6 and 7 to report for 1st Term 2021 (+Class 8 of 2020 academic year)

Grade 4, Class 5 and to attend school on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Class 7 and Class 8 -2020 to attend from Monday to Friday.

5th January 2021: Pre-School and Grade 1-3 to report to school for 1st Term 2021 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Very Important: Boarding Primary schools to have only Class 6,7 & 8 as boarders. Class 6 to attend on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They are allowed to study in the dormitories when not in class. Class 7 and 8 to attend from Monday to Friday.

Phased Reopening for Day Secondary Schools

To use the Alternative Day System (ADS). Only half of the school population is present on any single day to allow social distancing.

4th January 2021: Form 3 Students to report for 1st Term 2021 together with Form 4 Students (2020 academic year).

5th January 2021: Form 1 and 2 Students to report for 1st Term 2021.

Form 3 students will attend classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Form 1 and 2 students to attend classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Form 4 students to attend classes from Monday to Friday.

Phased Reopening for Boarding Secondary Schools

To use the Shift Learning System (SLS). The students will attend classes in two shifts to allow social distancing. When not in the class, they are expected to be doing prep or revision in the dorms, library or in playing field as long as they observe social distancing

4th January 2021: Form 3 students to report for 1st Term 2021 together with the form 4 for their 3rd Term 2020.

5th January 2021: Form 1 and 2 students to report for the 1st Term 2021.

Shift 1: Form 1 and 2 – 6 AM to 1 PM

Shift 2 – Form 3 and 4 – 2 PM to 10 PM

How to Handle Two Classes of Form One Students in May 2021

Under this proposal, there will eventually be two From 1 classes in May 2021. These are the 2020 KCPE candidates who are expected to report to Form 1 in 2nd Term on 3rd May, 2021 and the 2019 KCPE candidates who had reported for Form 1 in 1st Term 2020 but schools were closed from 16th March due the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 2020 Form 4 class will have left at end of April 2021 after sitting their KCSE exams, hence it will create space for the 2020 KCPE candidates to join Form 1 on 5th July 2021 (subject to KNEC logistics).

In order to ensure they cover the full 2021 Form 1 syllabus, the 2020 KCPE candidates (to be called Form 1-2020) will stay for 2 extra weeks in August 2021 (closing on 20th August 2021). They will open on 30th August 2021 and close on 3rd December 2021 (total of 14 weeks).

Other grades including Form 1-2019 will follow the Ministry of Education term dates for opening and closing including half-term. (There will be no national exams in November 2021 due to absence of Class 8 and Form 4.

In January, 2022 both Form 1-2019 and Form 1-2020 will move to Form 2 and be at par (double stream). There will be no Form 1 in 2022 hence social distancing will be guaranteed. This proposal is better than having both 2020 KCPE and 2020 KCSE candidates repeat the whole academic year as it can have negative effects on the candidates and will not create social distancing.

Leaners who were to join Grade 1 in 2021 will need to wait another year in Pre-school or stay at home then join Grade 1 in 2022, due to Covid-19 safety issues because small children are poor in social distancing and may find it difficult to wear a face mask.

Covid-19 Checklist for Schools in Kenya Before Phased Reopening

  1. School buildings and compound must be cleaned and disinfected, clean water and soap for washing hands and drinking provided. Hand sanitizers to be used at the gate and elsewhere.
  2. Social distance marks to be indicated in the compound and floor to ensure everyone is 2 meters apart, as well as desks, eating tables, etc.
  3. Guards at the gate to check the temperature of ALL persons entering the school compound with Thermo-gun. Record of all visitors to be kept plus their contacts.
  4. All teachers, office staff, support staff, kitchen staff, etc to undergo Covid-19 test and be issued with a valid certificate before re-opening date.
  5. Double-decker beds to be turned into single beds and spaced at least 2 meters apart. School Hall can be converted into a dormitory.
  6. If needed additional temporary dorms to be constructed, using pre-fabricated materials. Adequate sanitary facilities to be added with running water.
  7. One dorm should be converted into an isolation ward to keep students who show symptoms of Covid-19 until they can be tested.
  8. All teachers, office staff, support staff, kitchen staff, etc to undergo Covid-19 protocol training and be available in school at least one week before opening date for preparation.
  9. Headteacher must ensure supplies of face-masks are adequate so that each learner gets 2 each as per GoK directive.
  10. Headteacher must ensure that essential items such as hand-washing soap, disinfectants, cleaning materials, basic medical items, etc are in adequate supply at all times.

Covid-19 Checklist for Schools in Kenya After Phased Reopening

  1. Learners must line up for temperature checks before entering the compound and must wear a face mask.
  2. Learners to be taken through a Covid-19 orientation lesson on opening day (wearing of masks, social distancing, handwashing, etc)
  3. Parents or unauthorised persons not to be allowed into school compound (Bubble**) unless cleared by Headteacher and only after temperature check and they are wearing a face mask.
  4. Break and lunchtime to be staggered to ensure social distancing. Learners to be warned not to share food and drinks and not leave the compound during lunchtime.
  5. Leaners should not move between classes except for special lessons, i.e. science, music, computer, etc.
  6. Boarders on shifts will have break, lunch and supper at different times.
  7. Dorms will be divided by shift (Form 1&2 or Form 3&4) with no mixing except for Dorm prefects.
  8. Games and other extra-curriculum activities to be restricted but not banned, and where allowed, social distancing should be observed.
  9. Boarders who are not in the class are expected to study on their own or do assignments in dorms or playfield while observing social distancing.
  10. No school assembly and parade allowed. Announcements to be made via PA or inter-comm system.
  11. No visiting, prayer and speech days. PTA and AGM should be held online (virtual). Parents not to visit school in person except when dropping or picking up their children.
  12. In case of confirmed Covid-19 case, the school must be placed on lockdown and await Ministry of Health instructions. Parents should not be allowed to visit or collect children until MoH clearance.
  13. School transport (bus and van) must be sanitized before each trip and leaners must be seated so as to ensure social distancing. No collection before 6.30 am as per GoK directive.
  14. Each school to form a Covid-19 committee to be chaired by Deputy Headteacher and to do a daily inspection to ensure that school is observing Covid-19 protocols.

Conclusion

Implementing both the Alternative Day System (ADS) and the Shift Learning System (SLS) will ensure learners are safe from Covid-19 and maintain social distancing. It will save cost in building additional infrastructure (classrooms, dorms, etc) and allow reopening of schools safely in the shortest time.

The Covid-19 has had a devastating effect on the children of Kenya and parents now know the importance of teachers in their lives. Online lessons can never replace face-to-face teaching and we must now trust the teachers to take care of our children and grandchildren as we start the journey of recovery from this crisis and return to school.

Let us make each of our 24,000 schools a “Bubble**” to protect our over 15 million learners from Covid-19.

**A “bubble” is an unofficial term used to describe the cluster of people outside your household with whom you feel comfortable spending time during the pandemic.

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About Laban Thua Gachie 30956 Articles
I am a proud Kenyan. I have a Bachelors Degree in Communication and Media Technology from Maseno University. I am an Online Content Developer for Kenyanlife.com and Catholicreadings.org. My passion is helping others realize their passions and dreams so that they can live a decent and fulfilling life.