BY METHEMBE SIBANDA
PRIMARY and Secondary Education minister Evelyn Ndlovu yesterday said schools would remain open until end of term on December 17, saying the COVID-19 situation was now under control despite sporadic outbreaks at some learning institutions.
Speaking at the official handover of 100 000 washable masks by the Biomedical Research and Training Institute meant for schools in Harare, Ndlovu said: “Yes, we have recorded cases in schools, but we have managed to contain them and schools will continue as earlier announced. Children are actually in the middle of examinations as we speak. We continue urging all learners to adhere to the SOPs [standard operating procedures] set by the WHO [World Health Organisation].”
This came as one of Harare’s elite schools, Eaglesvale Primary, suspended lessons after a pupil tested positive to the virus.
In a brief memo to parents, school authorities said: “We received a call from one of our parents who informed us that her daughter has tested positive this morning. As a precautionary measure, management has decided to suspend all learning with immediate effect as we engage the relevant authorities on the way forward. Grade 7s are advised to continue coming to school until Friday when they finish their Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council examinations.”
School head Michael Bvumbe yesterday declined to comment on the issue, saying he was attending a funeral in Gweru.
This month as COVID-19 statistics began to soar again in the country, several learning institutions, including Masvingo Teachers’ College, recorded high infection figures.
Masvingo recorded more than 100 infections last week.
The rise in confirmed cases has sent panic waves in schools, with a number of private boarding schools shutting down.
A daily Health and Child Care ministry situational report released yesterday morning showed that Zimbabwe had a cumulative 139 046 confirmed cases, with 128 868 recoveries and 4 710 deaths.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association president Richard Gundane said his association was worried about the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in schools.
“From the union side, we are very worried about the increasing cases of COVID-19 across the country. Our wish is for protection of teachers and pupils from the pandemic,” he said.