BY LORRAINE MUROMO /BEAUTY NYUKE
The Progressive Teachers Union has rapped the government for defying stakeholders’ advice and rushing to re-open schools without proper mechanisms to combat COVID-19 infections.
In a statement yesterday, PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou said COVID-19 cases in schools were rising, claiming the government was struggling to contain its spread.
“Truth rather than a façade of lies peddled by Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education officials must be the guiding principle,“ he said.
He accused the Education ministry of misleading the Cabinet and the President into opening schools without adequate measures to combat COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are more than 50 other schools across the country where cases between 1 and 40 have been reported and where testing is an ongoing process. But the testing process is hindered by a critical shortage of testing kits,” he said.
This week, several schools mainly in Mberengwa recorded COVID-19 cases. Chegato High School, with the largest, had 133 cases, Masase had 40 while Tongwe High in Beitbridge had 82 cases. Gutu High in Masvingo had 52 positive cases.
“There is an urgent need for an intervention plan, especially for schools that are fast becoming quarantine centres,” he said.
He called for an open engagement of government and officials, health officials, teacher unions and parents.
“A comprehensive plan to test all students, teachers and ancillary staff at the affected schools is a panacea to combating COVID-19,” he added.
But Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro said the government was doing its best in combating the spread of the virus.
“I don’t see anything amiss with what the government is doing. They are using the standard COVID-19 procedures,” Ndoro said.
On turning schools into quarantine centres, he said: “Who owns the schools? Is it not national COVID-19 policy to quarantine where there are positive cases identified to prevent the spread of the virus?”