COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to fall, which has prompted loud calls for reopening of the economy and relaxing of lockdown measures.
As of August 22, there were 165 news cases and 13 deaths.
With cases and deaths continuing to fall, calls for reopening of the economy are getting louder by the day. The country’s economy largely relies on the informal sector. While it is prudent to reopen the economy, it is not wise to reopen schools at the moment.
Schools were closed on June 4 and were set to reopen on June 28 for the second term but reopening was postponed due to a rise in the number of cases and deaths caused by the third wave of the coronavirus.
The Primary and Secondary Education ministry recently said government was working on reopening of schools, without giving dates.
This has resulted in circulation of unconfirmed social media reports that schools would reopen on September 6 for the second term.
The message has created panic among parents who felt that they had been ambushed by the ministry.
We urge the Education ministry to clear the air and advise parents of the schools opening dates so that they have ample time to prepare.
It is no doubt that schools should reopen because the e-learning that was rolled out by government is not serving much purpose.
With news that the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council is going ahead with preparations for this year’s examinations, there is need for reopening of schools especially for examination classes.
However, we are of the view that ample time should be given for preparation for reopening.
Any sudden announcement of the opening date is likely to be viewed and received with hostility by long-suffering Zimbabweans, who have for a long time endured ad hoc decisions, some of which tend to defy logic.
Government should also solve its salary and vaccination issues with teachers before ordering reopening of schools.
Teachers are demanding an increment.
It will be fair if government engages teachers on these sensitive issues before schools open to avoid any disruption to learning.
Opening of schools without reaching an agreement with teachers will be a futile exercise as teachers are likely to go on strike because of incapacitation or be at school but not teaching.
This will affect pupils as they will not get value for their fees and may fail examinations.
Government should stop dithering and come up with a decisive position.