Public schools open for the writing of public examinations today with the Government confirming that all systems are in place for a successful reopening.
The safety of teachers and pupils in schools remains paramount and Government will continue to monitor schools following a spike of Covid-19 cases, said Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Professor Paul Mavhima.
Last week Government postponed reopening of schools for the first term, which was due to start today.
But A-Level and O-Level examinations will resume today and will be completed on February 5.
Authorities will make use of the exams to monitor the feasibility of resumption of lessons.
In an interview Prof Mavhima said when teachers and pupils were infected by Covid-19 Government closed the school until the outbreak was under control.
“Remember a number of precautions were taken to ensure safety in schools. It is unfortunate that we have had Covid-19 cases at schools like John Tallach and a few others but by and large, we have a seen precautionary measures and protocols put in place by Government being observed,” said Prof Mavhima.
Government will continue to protect the teachers and pupils from the pandemic.
The President was aware of the situation and would not hesitate to order the closure of schools if the need arises.
“If there is a serious problem, Government will react accordingly because, when everything is said and done, the safety of the learners and teachers is our top priority. But as of now we have had a few cases and I think the rest of the education sector seems to be doing well,” he said.
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Communications and Advocacy director, Mr Taungana Ndoro, told our sister paper, Sunday Mail that Government had deviated from the initial calendar to ensure more measures were put in place for preparation of schools opening.
“The whole logic behind the deferment of schools opening was to de-congest classrooms and to give school heads time to come up with alternative infrastructure,” he said.
“It was impossible to have two classes of the same form but different years at the same school at the same time, for instance it was impossible to have this year’s Form Fours together with last year’s Form Fours at the same time.
Yesterday parents indicated that they were relieved that their children were now going back to school and most of them expressed confidence that their children will be safe if the schools continue to follow the proper health regulations.
Most parents said they had provided masks and sanitisers for their children.
Others, however, complained that they were being forced to buy masks at school and students were not allowed to bring masks from home, the schools either claiming they had to ensure masks were of a certain standard or because they wanted “school uniform” masks.
Schools were closed early in March last year as Government adopted a pre-cautionary measure to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and remained closed for the second term. Of the six months since schools closed almost half that time were the first two sets of school holidays.