Tuesday, 29 September 2020

SPORTS SUSPENDED, NO HANDSHAKES, HUGS AS SCHOOLS REOPEN

 The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is working closely with other ministries and stakeholders to guarantee the safety of pupils and staff during the examinations period. The SOP states that no visitor will be allowed in schools except essential service providers.


Physical distancing of at least one metre will be adhered to by both teachers and learners while minimising sharing of education stationery including textbooks.

Schools were closed late in March ahead of the initial 21-day national lockdown, but reopened briefly for June examinations.

Chronicle could however, not access the classrooms at the schools as authorities barred the news crew citing health regulations.

Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education director of communications and advocacy, Mr Taungana Ndoro, said the ministry was yet to receive a detailed report following the reopening of schools yesterday.

He, however, said the provincial education directors and district education officers and others were on the ground assessing the situation.

“As far as the Government is concerned, the schools were supposed to reopen and indeed they have reopened. Yes, there might be cases where pupils are turned away for various reasons, but we are working on it. It’s too early to discuss that because we have our officials from our provinces and districts on the ground to make sure operations run smoothly,” he said.

“Obviously, the situation will improve as we go on. For now, we are still assessing and will give a position in due course.” In Midlands, scores of pupils were turned away as authorities cited unavailability of PPEs 

As early as 7AM, pupils were arriving at primary schools which include St Paul’s, Chikumbiro, Takawira in Mkoba 2, 6, 17 suburbs respectively, CJR, Stanley in the city centre, Riverside in Athlone and secondary schools which include Mkoba 1 and Mkoba 3, Matimunura in Mkoba 9, and Thornhill and Chaplin.

The pupils who reported for lessons all had face masks while others had hand sanitisers.

But by midday the pupils had all been turned away by school authorities who indicated that they didn’t have enough PPEs to manage the pupils. Parents who called the Chronicle offices yesterday expressed dismay at the school authorities for turning away their children.

“My child is doing O-level at Chaplin High School and he is home now because he has been turned away. I understand the school is saying they are still to receive PPEs for the teaching staff and supporting staff and can’t risk having our children attending classes. They have been asked to check if the PPEs would have arrived tomorrow (today),” said Mr Maxwell Chindanga from Athlone.

In Mkoba suburb, parents complained of the same situation saying there was a false start in the reopening of the schools.

“My son is in Grade 7 at Chikumbiro Primary school and she has been turned away. I had given her two face masks and a sanitiser but she said they were told that there are no PPEs for the teachers. So, we don’t know what is happening,” said Mrs Mirirai Shumba from Mkoba 6 suburb. 

School heads who spoke to this publication on condition of anonymity said they had no thermometers, sanitisers or face masks.

They said the Government had promised them but they are still to receive any PPEs.

“We can’t put these pupils in danger. We don’t have enough thermometers, sanitisers, masks and the idea of attending two classes since one class is divided into two is not going on well with teachers. So, the pupils have been turned away as we wait for the Ministry to provide the PPE and extra teachers to take other classes,” said a school head. Chronicle

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