Coast schools drama festival ends early over coronavirus fears

Students during past drama festival PHOTO COURTESY

Organisers of the Coast region schools drama festivals were on Friday forced to conclude the festival one day earlier after the health ministry issued a directive suspending all inter-school activities countrywide over the Coronavirus pandemic.

The festival which began on Tuesday and drew students and teachers from across the Coast region, was scheduled to end on Saturday, but officials were given up to end of Friday to conclude it after the government directive.

Secondary schools that were slotted to present their items on Saturday were called and squeezed in to the Friday schedule, a crush-programme that resulted in the festival ending close to midnight.

Primary schools were more disadvantaged as their festival was called off and those that had not performed asked to wait for further communication.

“We had a play and solo verse but we have not performed and shall not perform. We have been asked to wait until new announcements are made. They have messed up the festival,” said one primary school drama teacher from Kwale County.

In a circular to all regional directors of education countrywide, education cabinet secretary George Magoha on Friday spelt out nine measures he wanted taken to contain spread of the virus in learning institutions.

“Suspend with immediate effect intra/inter-school and institutional events such as games, drama, clubs etc, annual general meetings, thanksgiving, prize giving, education and visiting days,” Magoha, said in the circular.

Other measures he directed included suspension of all non-essential travel including school and institutional trips as well as sensitization of learners about the virus, and strict hygiene within institutions.

The directives which were announced on Friday after the health ministry confirmed the first case of Coronavirus in Kenya will stay in force for the next 30 days, the ministry said, a move that will affect term one schools activities including regional drama festivals that were to start in other regions across the country from next week.

If not revised, the directive will also affect school games and the national drama festival that was scheduled to be hosted in Mombasa beginning of April.