Dear Treasured WISER Partners and Friends,
On Tuesday, July 7th, the Kenyan Ministry of Education and President Uhuru Kenyatta announced their decision to keep all Kenyan learning institutions closed until January 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While the WISER team recognizes the hardships this decision presents to our students who must now remain away from their campus and home away from home for the remainder of the year, we applaud the level of consideration of students’ health and safety that led to this announcement.
For the WISER Girls, the next six months will be an unprecedented experience as they wait to rejoin their friends, teachers, and mentors on campus at the start of the new year. We are saddened by this loss of an academic year and by the continued challenges girls and their families will face.
But WISER has been supporting our students and responding to the pandemic since the first confirmed case in March – and we aren’t stopping now.
Our board members and staff in Kenya and in the US are collaborating on a new plan to respond to this announcement. We expect to extend our ongoing COVID-19 relief programs, which include the provision of non-perishable food, sanitary items, and face masks to hundreds of WISER families, through the end of the year.
We also expect to remain committed to our at-home education programs that have allowed girls to remain in touch with their teachers and complete academic work through the use of smartphones. This distance-based academic work entails more than just assignments and content review, as our teachers serve as a reliable source of mentorship and comfort throughout this turbulent time. With these programs in place, WISER girls will return to campus in the new year ahead of the curve, having already worked with their dedicated teachers to cover and review the majority of the year’s curriculum.
In January, all WISER Girls will be welcomed back to campus to restart the academic year they intended to complete in 2020. There will be no new entering class of girls in 2021 for WISER. Instead, we will be welcoming back the first-year girls who had their year cut short by the closing of our campus in March. All fourth-year students who were scheduled to complete their national exams in 2020 will instead repeat their year and complete exams in 2021, allowing them to begin their post-secondary journeys in 2022. We will not turn any girl away due to changes in circumstance that arise due to this extended separation from the resources and support of the WISER campus and we will work to replicate this support beyond our school’s walls. We look forward to once again having a bustling campus filled with brilliant, driven young women as soon as the conditions allow.
For now, our priority is to keep our students engaged and empowered, our staff employed and supported, and our community healthy and valued. The next six months will present unique challenges and opportunities for all of us. We look forward to sharing those with you as next steps begin to take shape.
The WISER Team