Monday, 22 March 2021

SMOOTH RE-OPENING OF SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES


Non-examination school classes, universities and colleges re-opened smoothly yesterday with teachers, lecturers, pupils and students following the strict World Health Organisation (WHO) and Government public health guidelines.

The three examination classes were brought in a week earlier to settle before yesterday’s rush and as these classes are the most senior in the schools, and provide the pupil leadership such as prefects or their equivalent, they were well prepared to help settle in the more junior classes when they turned up yesterday.

The odd angry voice calling for a teachers’ strike were ignored.  In Harare pupils were being checked for temperature and sanitising hands at the gate before admission. Everyone was wearing a facemask and no one was crowding. At class doors, there were buckets to wash hands before entering.

Visits were made to both Government and private schools to assess how the reopening was working: Harare High School, Zengeza 4 Primary, Allan Wilson High School, Bright Daises primary and secondary schools and Avondale Primary School.

For the tertiary end, visits were made to the University of Zimbabwe and Harare Polytechnic. Principal of Bright Daises primary and secondary schools in Chitungwiza, Mrs Daisy Mukariri, said they had made sure the required health measures are conducted before any child was admitted into school premises.

“As a school we are managing to sanitise and maintain social distance. Our only challenge was in the morning when parents came in numbers to pay fees and register the new classes, but we managed to contain that. Teachers attended to classes,” she said.

Harare High School head Priscilla Marjorie Satande said all was progressing smoothly at the school.

In Masvingo, most schools announced revised school attendance programme to decongest classes in a move that will see pupils going to school on different days of the week.

At Victoria Junior, pupils would alternate to go to school for three and two days every week to reduce overcrowding and limit sizes of classes to able to maintain social distancing.

University and college students here also started tripping back to their seats of learning on Sunday with students at Great Zimbabwe University and Masvingo Polytechnic undergoing body temperature checks and sanitisation before entering into the premises.

Learners were made to occupy halls of residents and classrooms that had been disinfected to contain spread of Covid-19.

In Mashonaland East at Marondera High school, Nagle House, Wise Owl and Robert Mugabe Primary School there was a high turnout of pupils and teachers.

Mashonaland East Provincial Education Director Ms Anatoria Ncube said: “We had a good start. Our teacher attendance for today was 83,5 percent whereas learner percentage was 72.3 percent.”

Normalcy also prevailed in Mashonaland West. Provincial education director Mr Gabriel Mhumha said yesterday that preliminary findings showed that it was business as usual. Attendance of teachers and learners was both in the normal category.

Kariba district education officer Mr Jason Dzveta said he toured schools in the area and the attendance was normal with only those exempted being absent. 

In Matabeleland South province most schools opened as scheduled with boarding schools including Matopo High phasing arrivals to avoid crowds of parents. Form One pupils arrived on Sunday while Forms Two and Three arrived yesterday.

Authorities at most schools in the province have installed more handwashing basins and acquired temperature scanners to screen everyone entering the premises.

In Gwanda there was a last minute rush with people seeking to buy school uniforms and related items for their children. In Beitbridge schools opened with many pupils and teachers reporting in their numbers.

The second phase of schools opening went well in the Midlands province with the majority of teachers reporting for duty.

Midlands Provincial Education Director, Mr Robson Machimbira said schools will be adopting phased approach to avoid congestion in classes.

“In line with the Covid-19 guidelines pupils will be attending classes on different days especially where there are a lot of pupils so that we avoid congestion and maintain social distance in classes,” he said. Herald

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