Teachers speak on schools reopening guidelines

Teachers` unions say there is need for the government to hire more teachers to ensure that schools adhere to measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Schools are expected to reopen on July 28.

The measures introduced by the government ahead of the reopening of schools including a blanket ban on out and indoor sporting activities, prohibition of learners from the school playgrounds and physical contact.

Some of the other measures contained in the Standard Operating Procedure are that classrooms should not have more than 35 learners, break and lunchtimes to be staggered or held in class and learners will no longer be allowed to share textbooks.

Schools will also be expected to provide learners with face masks and sanitisers.

In an interview with CITE, Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (TUZ) Secretary general Godfrey Kanyongo said the new measures will require additional staff to monitor learners.

“Most learners are not able to distance themselves while in class at the same time it is difficult to control learners even if they are coming from home, we will not be with them, what they will be doing on their way coming to school no one knows as a result they can reach the school after they have infected each other,” said Kanyongo. 

Kanyongo said the government should the reduce the number of learners per class to 20 so that they are able to maintain social distancing.

“We recommend to have 20 learners per classroom because it is difficult to practice one meter apart with 35 learners. We recommend that the government should employ more teachers as it is difficult to have three sessions a day, they should establish another way for learners to learn safely,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union (ARTUZ) national spokesperson, Nation Mudzitirwa said it will be a challenge for rural schools to adhere to the new guidelines.  

“Majority of rural schools do not have enough infrastructure to maintain social distancing, you will only find one classroom block in other remote schools.  Keeping learners in a single classroom throughout the day will not solve anything since the same learners from different classes meet and mix before and after school time,” he said.

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