THE Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has blasted government’s one-size-fits-all approach in responding to COVID-19 at schools, saying its approach will likely endanger the health of learners up to next year.
BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
Their assertions come after a number of schools have been recording COVID-19 cases, sending panic among parents, teachers and learners at a time the country is also experiencing an increase in the number of infections.
Government, however, has shot down calls to shut down schools, insisting that prerequisite measures to protect learners and teachers were in place.
“The government is adamant that in spite of an acute increase of COVID-19 cases among school-age children, schools will continue to operate. Over 30 schools and over 600 pupils and teachers have been affected, and the government seems to have adopted a one-size-fits-all approach in which it waits for COVID-19 to run riot in a school and then close the school,” the PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou told NewsDay in an interview.
“There has been severe disruption of children’s education as infected children contaminate other children and adults. It is beyond doubt that pupils at school tend to have a wide transmission circle which can endanger parents,” he said.
Zhou said it was sad that the Primary and Secondary Education ministry did not have alternative plans except to send children home from the affected schools while other schools remain open.
“Action is urgently needed to make schools safe for teachers and learners and to reduce infection in Zimbabwe. Control of the virus requires an excellent test, track and trace system.
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“The present situation in many of the worst-affected schools is characterised by confusion, secrecy, mistrust, fear, demoralisation, uncertainty and exhaustion. The ministry has remained far detached from the pathetic situation in schools,” Zhou said.
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