Aquinoe and all schools in Kenya are to remain closed until January because of the coronavirus pandemic, the education minister George Magoha confirmed this week.
The move is a massive blow to children, staff and families who have all been struggling to cope since the initial shutdown on 22nd March.
Aquinoe director, Josphat Shaduma said: “Lilian [Chair of Governors] and I are very worried about the situation. We are monitoring it with concern.”
Josphat in happier times
The charity trustees stepped in twice earlier this year to pay teachers’ salaries for a total of four months to the end of July and also help the families of the children who would normally be sponsored during term time.
Josphat says: “May I continue to thank the trustees and all Aquinoe supporters for thinking about the children and our staff. All of you will be in their minds and spirits for a long time.
“No salary is paid to teachers in schools like ours in this country during this pandemic.”
Aquinoe has 22 staff, teaching and non-teaching, while pupil numbers vary between 100 and 170.
Charity chair, Jean said: “We are monitoring the situation closely and will need to consider the way ahead.”
Latest figures (8th July) show Kenya to have 8,525 coronavirus cases after a recent surge and 169 deaths.
Earlier this week the government lifted restrictions on travel in and out of Nairobi. Domestic flights will re-start on 15th July with international travel resuming from 1st August.
Colleges and universities are set to re-open in September but only if they meet strict requirements.
The country’s President Uhuru Kenyatta had urged Kenyans to continue to take precautions, describing the path to recovery as “rocky and uneven,” but “navigable.”
A nationwide nightly curfew has been extended for 30 days and Kenyatta has warned the country could be locked down again if things get worse.
Kenya’s economy, badly hit by the pandemic, had already been undermined by the worst attacks in the country for 70 years of huge swarms of locusts, which continue to strike a large part of East Africa destroying crops and livelihoods.