Barely two weeks after schools re-opened for the first term of 2021, there is a general relaxation among pupils who no longer abide by the COVID-19 rules which stipulate mandatory wearing of face masks, regular sanitization of hands and maintenance of social distance at all times.
By Memory Khosa
At most schools in Chipinge, both primary and secondary, pupils could be seen roaming around without face masks, something that could prove catastrophic if corrective measures are not put in place especially when the talk of a third wave is fast becoming a reality in most parts of the world.
More disturbing are the large gatherings of around 2000 pupils at assemblies where social distance is a mission impossible. The question is, are these gatherings necessary and can’t vital announcements be made in classrooms?
A Hakwata villager, Samson Mlambo told 263Chat that remote parts of Chipinge have low regards for Covid-19 rules which is worsened by high enrolment where some schools have around 2000 pupils who at times gather at a single assembly point.
‘’It is a shame that in remote areas like Hakwata, Muumbe, Guyo ,Makoho, Chikono, pupils still feel that masks should be put on when there are police and soldiers around,” said Mlambo.
He accused teachers of not helping the situation by failing to enforce COVID-19 regulations something he attributed to low morale due to incapacitation.
A teacher at a local school who preferred anonymity blamed lack of resources at most rural schools with essential things like sanitizers weighing heavily on the school budget.
”Most rural schools do not have resources to buy sanitizers, disinfectants because they are even failing to collect adequate school fees to buy chalks, charts and other important resources needed to run the school, what more sanitizers,” the teacher said.
“It’s not that pupils don’t like wearing masks but some masks are not decent and students avoid wearing them in fear of being stigmatized due to poverty. Situation will improve if all students could have uniform masks” another teacher at Shekwa secondary said.
Large gatherings including funerals in Chipinge district are the order of the day with about 20% wearing face masks. In certain instances, body viewing is done as long as the deceased is not a COVID-19 victim.
With such an attitude, Zimbabwe will continue being a COVID-19 hotspot and the wave could soon move from urban areas to remote parts of the country due to low regard for safety.
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