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KENYAN SCHOOLS REOPENING? Lessons we must learn from the United Arabs Emirates (UAE)

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With many governments across the globe working on gradually reopening the economy after months of the COVID-19 pandemic, education institutions are also resuming face-to-face learning.

The Kenyan government has been patient when it comes to reopening schools, with Education CS George Magoha, on many occasions, insisting that learning institutions will only reopen after a go-ahead from the Ministry of Health.

Although CS Magoha declared that schools will not reopen until 2021, recently he seems to be backtracking from the order, giving parents hope that schools may reopen earlier, after all, owing to the decrease in the number of daily coronavirus cases.

So what does it take to reopen learning institutions?

Lessons from the United Arabs Emirates (UAE)

Schools in the UAE resumed on August 30, with Education authorities announcing plans for the upcoming semester.

The schools have been given models in which they are expected to follow when re-opening.

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According to Gulf News, the schools have been given five reopening models to choose from which include;

  1. Full day face-to-face
  2. Half-day face-to-face
  3. Alternating day
  4. Alternating week
  5. A blended hybrid model

Rules that were followed when re-opening

Covid-19 testing for all

There was mandatory COVID-19 testing for all staff including teachers, students, and subordinate staff above 12 years. Also, daily temperature checks will be mandatory.

Parents will be barred from the school premise unless on special occasions upon which s/he will be required to have a 72-hour validity negative COVID-19 test result.

Social distancing

The number of students in each class has been limited to 15, to allow for a 1.5m distance. Students will also be taking alternate break times for minimum student engagement.


It is mandatory for all teachers and students above the age of 6 to wear masks while at school.

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Field visits

Education authorities will be visiting schools during the term to ensure compliance.

Hotline for parents

A dedicated hotline number has also been set up for members of the public, parents, or teachers to report compliance reports.

School isolation room

Isolation rooms have been set aside in case of a potential COVID-19 case. Only school medical staff are allowed to enter the room, of course donning a full PPE kit.

The parent of the student will then be notified immediately, as well as the health authorities for the transfer of the case to a proper health facility.

AURAK resumes classes and academic activities

When The American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK) resumed its classes for the Fall semester 2020, it followed all the Ministry of Health guidelines, to ensure the safety of students and staff.

AURAK decided to apply online learning in the first two weeks of the semester, before transitioning to a hybrid education system.

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According to AURAK, What is a hybrid education system?

The system includes four days of classes, Thursdays will be dedicated to university activities.

School hours have been extended to run from 9 am to 10 pm, to ensure that not more than 50% of the students are on campus at the same time. Only 15 students at a time will be allowed in the laboratories. Lectures will be transmitted live and recorded.

All staff must provide a negative COVID-19 test result, a test that should have been carried out not more than 48 hours. Gatherings of more than 50 people have been prohibited.

Wearing of facemasks is also mandatory, with students opting to stay in dorms encouraged to either take single rooms or choose a roommate who is a relative or close friend.

Deliveries to school premises have been discouraged or limited by strict measures.

AURAK will also carry out periodical COVID-19 tests.



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