THE government has said the re-opening of schools will be at an “appropriate time” and will be determined by the progress being made in fighting the deadly COVID-19 disease.
BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
In his address during the launch of the Mashonaland East provincial chapter of the COVID-19 schools response plan held at Chinyika High School in Goromonzi early this week, Primary and Secondary Education minister Cain Mathema said the opening of schools could only be determined by the progress made in fighting COVID-19.
“Government desires to open schools when the time is appropriate. I want to restate that the opening date will be determined by the progress that we make as a nation in fighting the coronavirus,” he said.
Zimbabwe is currently experiencing a surge in new COVID-19 cases, rising to 222 on Wednesday.
Recently, teachers’ unions met and resolved to resist the re-opening of schools anytime soon due to the unavailability of personal protective equipment (PPE), among other things.
Mathema added that government was currently engaging various stakeholders on the best way forward.
“We are engaging stakeholders in the education sector for input on the re-opening of schools. I can confirm that some opinions are quite diverse and maybe difficult to reconcile. We currently have a five-phase re-opening plan that begins with the examination classes in 2020,” Mathema said.
Government has already announced dates for June Ordinary and A-level examinations.
Meanwhile, government has encouraged schools to become innovative and produce their own PPE like masks and sanitisers.
Zimbabwe is currently under level two lockdown while the increase in COVID-19 cases has been exacerbated by returnees from countries like South Africa and Botswana with most of them currently in isolation centres.