Since the reopening of schools, children with special needs have been facing numerous challenges with the measures put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Curbing the spread of COVID-19 requires all citizens to adhere to the guidelines set by the government and that includes children with special needs, more so now that schools are open.
However, this comes as a challenge for these institutions since they now need more facilities and help from teachers and workers compared to other schools.
special need children in class. (Source, https://www.kbc.co.ke)
Mr. Peter Sendeu, Principal at Seneiya Special School in Samburu, said it has become difficult to explain to the children the COVID-19 rules because of lack of facilities.
Ms. Musima, the Headteacher at Nile Road Special School, while speaking to The Nation, also said that the children need help accessing the handwashing points and maintaining social distance, which is the most challenging.
They also need to be reminded every time to put on their masks considering they have been home for almost a year. They are also in the process of converting an old dining hall to a dormitory to increase space for social distancing.
Due to these reasons, reports from The Nation reveal that most parents have not taken their children to school in fear that they may not have prepared adequately. For example, Nile Road Special Schools in Nairobi have reported 150 out of 311 learners have not reported back.
At BL- Tezza Special Schools in Nyatike, Migori County only 45 pupils out of 100 had reported by Tuesday last week. Also, In Nyandarua, some special schools reported a 50 percent drop in attendance.
The government had promised to aid special need schools with transparent face masks for children who are deaf and rely on sign language and lip-reading for communication but they have not lived up to their word yet.
Ms. Musima says, “Those who drool cannot totally cover their mouths and noses with face masks.”
However, the government was able to donate 100 desks and chairs from the National Fund for the Disabled. They also received 70 desks from the ministry of education.
Some citizens are stepping up as well to help special need schools with the facilities they require, for example, a local politician donated water points and handwashing soap at Arise and Shine Special Needs school in Kakamega County. The school has also received desks from the Ministry of Education.
Featured image:World Mum’s Network