Updated: Mar 22
How pupils are adjusting to life in the classroom since COVID 19
All of our children returned to school the first week of January after 10 months of being at home due to the pandemic. The majority were proceeding with their second term of 2020. Our 12 Form 4 and 6 Class 8 candidates returned to school for their second term of 2020 in October and returned for their third term of 2020 in January 2021. The class 8s are sitting their Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exams for three days next week, followed by the form 4s who will sit their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams for the next three weeks.
Hotcourses Primary School
All of the classes from pre primary to class eight have opened, and all of the pupils in the village are now back to school. COVID 19 has negatively affected schools in the whole country at large. The impact of COVID 19 has meant that some pupils have found it hard adjusting to school life after so much time away. The village have worked hard to provide support to the students who have have struggled to return, social workers, teachers unity and guiding and counselling departments in the village have all come together to make the transition run as smoothly as possible, currently all lessons are well attended.
COVID 19 has come up with some challenges that we are still adjusting to, like social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands regularly, taking pupils’ temperature often, and not participating in co curricular activities as before.
In Hotcourses Primary we have 24 teachers, one secretary and three cooks. All of the teachers are actively on duty full time. We are strictly following all covid 19 protocols: we have placed hand washing containers with soap at different points within the school compound; they wash their hands as often as possible, we have thermal guns for taking pupils temperature regularly, we have issued them with face masks, we have restricted outings involving pupils - they stay within the village full time, we don’t allow them to interact with outsiders, and we limit visitors coming into the village. Temperature is taken at the main gate by the gate keeper for anyone visiting from outside of the village, and we ensure that they wash their hands at the gate, including our staff too. At the office, we provide sanitiser for the staff. Since we have the advantage that all of our pupils stay in the village, we carry out all lessons in the classrooms but not from outside unless it is a Physical Education lesson or a practical lesson.
The rain season ended in January and at the moment it is very dry and hot here. The harvested water in our tanks has now run out and we are depending on the piped water from our boreholes.
The water rationing is still on and in school we only have access to water in the morning, lunch time and in the evening. We normally fill all of the hand washing containers with water every day in the morning. In the kitchen we have a tank that we store water to be used by the cooks when preparing meals for the pupils.
Lawson's High School
As the strong effect of covid-19 seems to have devastated and interrupted normal life in the world over, the World Health Organisation reminded the world that this disease will be with us for a longer time. Countries have therefore been called upon to find innovative ways of combating the disease while ensuring essential services as well as normal life resumes. In response to this call, Kenya as a country started slowly relaxing covid-19, strict containment rules such as doing away with lockdown of certain regions and curfew hours hence allowing free movement of people within the republic. With this, the ministry of Education announced the full resumption of schools for all levels from primary(junior) level to senior levels(secondary) as well as colleges and universities.
In Nyumbani village at Kitui, all students in high school right from form 1 - 4 opened the school on 4th January, 2021. Teachers also resumed and learning resumed normally.
Upon opening most students reported back to school. They were very excited to be back. Although they had lagged behind in the syllabus, they were not alone as this affected the learners across the country. The back to school programme completely changed. Now the forms 1, 2 & 3 will be in term 2 and form 4 in term 3. Teachers continue to teach from where they had left.
The uncertainty of school resumption affected the learners because the government had earlier announced that year 2020 be declared a lost academic year, students had set their minds to open school in 2021 January and begin anew. This did not happen affecting especially the candidates who are to work under crushed programme to catch up with the lost time.
About student behaviour and discipline, generally our students seem to be well behaved and motivated to not only cover the syllabus but also to cover the time lost at home. The only challenge is the slow learning process resulting from memory loss of what they had learned in the previous year and the long period at home without studying. Others are slightly affected mentally for being in the same class for 2 years.
As a school with a population nearing 300, there are some challenges of implementing covid-19 precaution measures. Such challenges include social distancing. However, the school keeps on reminding kids to keep social distance. Every student is provided with 2 reusable masks which are again replaced once a month. Students temperatures are also taken and recorded by the class teachers. These precaution measures are meant to ensure that our children are safe while at school.
All teachers reported back and we are happy that there is no gap of the staff. Like students, they were also anxious to be back to school. Currently, learning is taking place normally. The school managed to purchase new course books, reference books and revision books to facilitate learning. With this the school continues appreciating the generous donors whose donation are improving teaching and learning in the school.
We hope that this year will be a year of hope and success that will give us an opportunity to realise our school vision and dream.
World over it has not been an easy year in education, we kept in touch with all by mobile phone and gave the form 1-3 students in secondary 4 sessions with a maths tutor in their centres. We wish all but especially our candidates every possible success.