Govt steps up preparations to re-open schools
Harare (New Ziana) – Schools harbouring returnees from foreign countries as part of the mandatory Covid-19 quarantine process will be evacuated by next week to pave way for resumption of learning, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said quarantine centres across the country, including schools, were currently holding 3 766 returnees.
“In a bid to free schools as quarantine centres, alternative centres, mostly vocational training institutions with a capacity to accommodate 2 636 people, have been identified throughout the provinces,” she said.
“All schools currently being used as quarantine centres are expected to be vacated by 9 June, 2020. Hotels and lodges to accommodate returnees who can self-finance during the quarantine period have also been identified.”
Mutsvangwa said an operational plan for schools re-opening had been put in place by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
“However, following a marked increase in COVID-19 cases, Cabinet approved that only examination classes should initially open schools in order for schools to be able to put prevention measures in place,” she said.
The preventative measures include enforcing social distancing, reducing class sizes, hand sanitisation and mandatory wearing of masks by both students and teachers at all times.
“Students will be expected to return home immediately after examinations. Depending on the outcome of the first phase, a way forward can then be mapped for the other classes, and the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education will subsequently issue a date for the commencement of the other classes.”
Meanwhile, Mutsvangwa said 10 quarantine centres had been identified, one in each province, for use by returning ex-convicts and people of a violent disposition.
“Improvements are being made to the centres in order for them to meet the requisite security standards. Law enforcement agents are also in the process of beefing up security at the centres in order to curtail incidents of absconding,” she said.