After ten months of having kids out of school, everyone — teachers, occupational therapists, caregivers, and parents — were ready to be back! The most challenging part of reopening the school was logistics, from limiting classroom sizes to installing hand-washing stations, ensuring mask-wearing adherence, and frequent temperature checks.
January 4th was our first day back, and excitement was palpable as kids reunited with their friends and teachers who saw their students after so long! But the day was also tinged with sadness; we could not bring back all the kids in a safe way due to space constraints.
It was an excruciating exercise to decide which kids returned to school and which ones continued with home-based care & schooling. In the end, we only brought back those kids whose parents were most in need of our support. We disappointed some parents, and we understand how overwhelmed they have been as full-time caregivers. Our social office will maintain the family assistance schedule we established in the months since the school closed in March 2020 and provide them with all the support we can. We hope that once the Children's Wellness Centre is complete, we will have space to safely bring all the kids back. For the moment, only 31 of our 51 Ubuntu Kids are back in school.
Our older kids are slowly getting used to this "new normal," but it has been a trying couple of weeks for our younger kids who do not do well with such disruptive change. Our teachers and support staff have risen to the occasion and adapted to give our kids the care and educational environment they deserve. It is impossible to predict what this year will bring, but I am confident that we are up to the challenge!
By Mary Kuria // Project Manager, Ubuntu Life Foundation