Coronavirus in Kenya

By Tom Bode, President

As I flew back to the USA from Kenya in February, coronavirus was growing in the news as a threat. I saw a few people wearing masks at the airport, but I was not concerned.

Now, the pandemic has hit the US and worldwide continues to worsen. Kenya is not immune. The county has several very high-density population centers, a fragile healthcare system, and a large population that lives on subsistence wages. All of that sets it up to have a bad outbreak, and the government has responded by shutting down many aspects of public life.

High schools are closed indefinitely. The ten high school students on WSI scholarship have been sent home to their families. Our coordinator in Nakuru remains in contact with their parents/guardians, and they will return to their schools when they reopen.

Universities have also been shut, and the WSI students in our university program have also left the schools and traveled home. Fortunately, at this point, university classes continue online through video lectures, chat, and online assignments. Each student has a WSI-provided laptop that enables them to participate. These data-hungry platforms, such as Google Classroom, use a lot of data – not a big deal for someone with a broadband connection at home, but for our students, who access the internet through daily or weekly mobile data packages, it can be a considerable expense.

World Scholarship Initiative will assisting our students to remain healthy and continue their education during this outbreak. I remain in good contact with all of our university students. WSI is providing additional funding to assist with internet and the expenses associated with a shutdown.

I hope that the decision to close schools and universities has moved our students away from the danger of densely populated areas, and that they will soon be able to safely return to their education. For our students and for everyone else, WSI hopes that this challenging time will pass quickly and safely.

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