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Teachers, parents resist schools reopening


Teachers and parents in Marondera have said there was no need for the reopening of schools in the wake of COVID-19 infections.


Speaking during a Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ)-organised consultative meeting held at Mbuya Nehanda Hall in the farming town on Wednesday, the teachers and parents said government should shelve the idea of reopening schools until it puts its house in order for the safety of children and teachers.

PTUZ provincial co-ordinator Tapiwa Chengeta said stakeholders recommended that schools be opened only after the COVID-19 pandemic was over.

“All in all, Mash East parents and teachers said no to reopening. We resolved that since cases are rising, why open schools now and why the hurry?” he said.

“There are no PPEs [personal protective equipment] in schools and government has not shown commitment to save lives and whose children should be sacrificed.

“Most of the parents survive on vending, therefore, there is need for the same government to first open the informal sector or vending so that parents have money to pay their children’s fees and needs.”

Zimbabwe is currently experiencing a massive rise in recorded COVID-19 cases, with most of the patients being returnees mainly from South Africa, who are in quarantine centres.
The country has so far recorded 551 positive cases and six deaths since the outbreak of the coronavirus.

At the end of March, government introduced a national lockdown to slow down transmissions.
The Primary and Secondary Education ministry has said that schools should reopen starting next month, with June examinations expected to start next week.

Speaking during the same meeting, PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said government should consider simple things before reopening schools.

“There are simple things that government need to consider,” he said.

“For example, a school has 1 000 learners, all need to wash hands before resuming lessons. How much learning time should be wasted until all the learners have washed their hands for at least 20 seconds each, not talking of securing resources like bars of soap every day?”

He added: “In learning, lip reading is essential, especially in the lower grades. How is this going to be effective if the teacher is putting on a mask? Moreover, most of the schools are currently being used as quarantine centres, hence there is need for them to be fumigated.”

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