MPs want schools closed to control Covid-19

Members of Parliament (MPs) want schools closed again as part of measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 following a John Tallach Secondary School incident in Ntabazinduna where 100 teachers and pupils recently tested positive for Covid-19.

Schools which had closed prematurely in March following the outbreak of the pandemic opened in phases in September, October and November.

In a post Cabinet meeting briefing Tuesday, the Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister said the government had resolved that schools that were recording Covid cases could close.

“Now, seeing that there is a number of schools that are coming up recording Covid cases among pupils especially in Bulawayo and Midlands, what is the government going to do with regards to the sitting of examinations in the presence of rising cases of Covid among pupils?” asked Mbizo MP, Settlement Chikwinya.

Responding to that, leader of government business in Parliament, Ziyambi Ziyambi said schools without testing facilities should close in the event of Covid-19 outbreak.

“The government’s position was that where schools do not have testing facilities, they have to close down to ensure the safety of learners,” he said. 

“On the second part of his question, the government cannot insist on sitting for examinations where there is danger of loss of lives.”

Chikwinya said it was obvious most schools across the country do not have the said testing capacity.

“Government cannot risk people’s lives because it is not just about the school,” said Norton law-maker, Temba Mliswa. 

“After school, those children also play with other kids. How then do you trace them around in terms of the Covid? The truth of the matter is why have we gone ahead to open schools when we do not have enough resources at the expense of people’s lives?” 

Mliswa added: “These are young children, unlike you and me. They need to have families and they need to lead their lives. Why risk when we have no resources as a government at the expense of people’s lives.

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