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Govt Bullish Of Containing COVID-19 Spread in Schools

The government says it has put measures in place to contain the spread of COVID-19 in schools following the re-opening of in-class learning earlier this week.

Schools closed on June 4 and were set to be opened on June 28 but re-opening was postponed because of the pandemic.

On Monday, most schools reopened doors for physical classes following months of online learning as the country was battling a COVID-19 third wave.

The reopening of schools was received with mixed feelings with some sceptical that schools will aid the spread of the virus.

However, Taungana Ndoro, director of communications and advocacy in the ministry says all Is in place to ensure the safety of the learners.

“We have been putting in new infrastructure to ensure that we decongest the existing infrastructure to ensure that there is social and physical distancing for the prevention and management of Covid-19,” Ndoro said.

“We have also made sure that our schools have adequate supplies of sanitisers and water. So, it is looking good. We have got single-seated desks now, instead of two- or three-seated desks.

“This is to encourage social distancing. We do not have bunk beds anymore in our boarding schools. We have got single beds and spacing of at least one-and-half to two meters. So, it is encouraging,” added.

The government announced recently that, on the advice of scientists, the country will start administering vaccines to children aged between 14 and 17.

The country is already offering shots to those 18 and older. This makes Zimbabwe one of the first countries in Africa to extend vaccinations to children.

Teachers have been prioritized for the vaccination drive too.

However, some teachers say they will be engaging in an industrial strike to force the government to address remuneration and personal protective equipment issues.

Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union Secretary-General Robson Chere said the government must urgently address the underlying issues or risk not having enough teachers in schools.

“And there is negligence on the part of the authorities to make sure that there is enough safety to guarantee our teachers and learners from the pandemic.

“They should have been providing adequate water supply, enough PPEs. Arcturus Primary School, which is down here, hasn’t even water. It’s messy. It’s a disaster. We are sitting on a time bomb for both learners and teachers,” he said.

The government recently said it had hired 4000 more teachers to deal with the pupil to teacher ratio and fill up some vacant posts which arose as some teachers left that jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 threat in schools.

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