Schools are COVID-19 super spreaders, should be closed now

File picture: Teacher and students in class

THE increase in the rate of COVID-19 infection in most schools is quite shocking and makes sad reading. While we applaud the efforts being made by government to contain the outbreak, the truth of the matter is that our schools have become super spreaders of the deadly virus and should be closed forthwith.

Daily testing of learners and teachers alone is not enough since the children, particularly day scholars, will also interact with their parents and guardians in their respective communities and these will also be vulnerable as well.

Schoolchildren come from various families and the fact that they meet and interact at their various schools, the virus can easily spread to various communities like raging fire.

Children, by their nature, have a stronger immune system than adults and can easily spread the virus without themselves showing any serious symptoms and illness.

In this case, parents and guardians will bear the burden of the virus brought to them by their children and if no corrective measures are taken, the country may soon witness increased infection and hospitalisation among the adult population, or even deaths.

If say, learners and teachers are tested at schools and found to be positive, do they have quarantine facilities for those children at the schools or they will be told to isolate at home?

Let’s say the learners are told to isolate at home, what safeguards are there for the parents and guardians who might have the potential to contract the virus brought from school by their children?

If say, 120 learners from the same community test positive, like what happened at Bonda Girls High School in Manicaland province, and they are told to isolate at home, what impact will the virus have on that community in terms of its spread even to the adult population, some of whom are in the vulnerable category like grandmothers and fathers taking care of orphans?

Will the Health and Child Care ministry be able to visit each homestead to test the parents as well?

Well, these are some of the questions which do not necessarily require answers, but just act as an eye opener to those involved in policy implementation.

The opening of schools was ill-timed as the country may soon be hit by a third wave of the deadly virus. Life is more important than anything else.

Food for thought!