Covid-19: Schools to remain open

The Government has remained adamant about keeping schools open despite an increase in the number of learners testing positive for Coronavirus. 

A number of schools in the country have recorded Covid-19 cases, with John Tallach Secondary School in Ntabazinduna the hardest hit with 184 cases while Matopo High School has also recorded 10 cases.

Covid-19 cases have also been reported at Emakhandeni Primary School and Maranatha Adventist High School in Bulawayo and Chinhoyi High School in Mashonaland West.

Responding to Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti who had shared concern on the increasing cases of Covid-19 infections in schools, Leader of government business in Parliament, Ziyambi Ziyambi said the Government has decided to adapt and live in the new normal.

“My concern Honourable Minister sir is that Covid cases appear to be increasing in schools. At John Tallach, there are 184 infections, Chinhoyi High there are 18 infections and Matopo High there are 10 infections,” said Biti.

“In view of these increasing Covid infections amongst our schools, why is the Ministry still keeping schools open,” he said.

 However, in response to the debate, Ziyambi said when an outbreak occurs at a particular school, they have a standard operating procedure to follow to ensure that they contain the disease.

“Indeed, we are living in the era of Covid and we are not even sure when we will be able to contain the virus. In Europe they now have a second wave and several countries are undergoing lockdown,” said Ziyambi.

“What we have decided as Government is, we have to adapt and live in the new normal. Where an outbreak occurs at a particular school, we have standard operating procedures to follow to ensure that we contain the disease around that particular school and ensure that learners within that particular school are taken care of.”

“What we cannot do is if a school in Chinhoyi has an outbreak of Covid, we then close a school in Mutare. We look at it case by case and say we have had cases here, what do we do to ensure the safety of the learners as well as to ensure that learners continue learning,” he said.

Ziyambi noted that the country had entered the second wave of Covid-19.

“We have realised that we can literally have a 365-day lockdown. At one point or the other, we will have sporadic cases of Covid, and indeed we are now experiencing a second wave, but we need to ensure that we adhere to what the Ministry of Health is prescribing as to what WHO is telling us and ensure we educate all of us on the dangers of Covid,” he said

He added that learners must go to school as the government through the Ministry of Health and Child care has put standard operating procedures in case an outbreak happens at school.

“Also, learners must go to school but we have put in place through the Ministry of Health standard operating procedures to say should an outbreak happen what is it that needs to be done and the schools are working well with the rapid response team from the Ministry of Health to ensure that they contain the disease,” said Ziyambi.

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