It fills our hearts with joy to announce that after nearly a year away, our students finally returned to campus for in-person learning on January 4!
This past fall, the Kenyan government announced that all Kenyan schools would reopen in the new year. Nine long months after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are delighted to have our students back in our care, as we know our Centers for Excellence (KCE I and II) are the safest place for them. We are acutely aware however that the pandemic is ongoing and remains a threat, so we have gone above and beyond government guidance to put in place a comprehensive COVID-19 prevention strategy to ensure that our students, staff, and community remain safe and healthy as the girls return to campus.
In the months leading up to our schools’ reopening, our faculty and staff received COVID-19 training to ensure they could uphold the highest health and safety standards for our students. Upon arrival on our campuses, all students, faculty, and staff received double-layer cloth masks, temperature checks, and medical check-ups from our nurse. Temperature screenings of all students, faculty, and staff have continued on a daily basis for the past month.
We established physically distanced sleeping accommodations in our dorms, installed 24 hand-washing points across our two campuses, and are enforcing frequent hand-washing throughout the day. We’ve also established designated isolation spaces for quarantining on campus should the need ever arise.
Thankfully, given our campuses’ remote location and that every student, faculty, and staff member lives with us for most of the year with limited exposure beyond our KCE community, we are uniquely positioned to create a “bubble” on each of our campuses. After a month of strict masking, daily temperature checks, and social distancing, we are pleased to report that no KCE students or staff have experienced symptoms or had to receive care for COVID-19.
With our initial prioritization on balanced nutrition and physical health, our girls are making up for ground lost while they were home and we can now turn our attention to catering to their mental health and well-being. Though our girls have been amazingly resilient throughout the pandemic, many come from difficult backgrounds and have spent the past 10 months living in unsupportive home environments. As such, they are receiving regular counseling and psychosocial support from our experienced school counselor to ensure any new trauma or other mental health needs are addressed swiftly and effectively. Next will be making up for lost learning and ensuring our students have what they need to be successful academically.
We are still living in unprecedented times and we know we are not out of the woods yet, but we are truly excited to have our students back in the safety of our care and return to what Kakenya’s Dream does best: educate and empower extraordinary girls to achieve their wildest dreams, no matter the obstacles that stand in their way.