Harare, (New Ziana) – Government on Tuesday again deferred the re-opening of schools till further notice to allow for consultations on the way forward following a spike in Covid-19 infections, a cabinet minister said on Wednesday.
Government had initially planned to have schools opened at the end of June but postponed by a month to end of July after representations from teacher organisations over Covid-19 concerns.
Schools closed earlier than scheduled in March as government feared the outbreak of the coronavirus could hit and easily spread in educational institutions.
But since then, the country has recorded 1 034 cases and 19 deaths, prompting disagreement among stakeholders on how to proceed.
Government has since then said priority for re-opening would be given to examination writing classes and all teachers had been ordered to return for duty at the end of this month.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa said schools will now only be re-opened after a review of the situation.
“Re-opening of schools shall be deferred pending a review of the situation while the writing of public examination continues,” she told a post Cabinet briefing.
Writing of mid-year final examinations commenced late last month and is on-going.
Mutsvangwa said private schools that had already re-opened without permission from government will be penalised.
Some of the private schools had demanded that parents pay full fees while the children were being taught online.
Teachers’ unions have proposed that schools be opened after the winter season in August, arguing opening schools earlier would put both the teachers and students at risk.
Health experts had also warned the coronavirus would peak during the winter season which ends this month.