Primary and Secondary Education Minister Cain Mathema says Government suspects that the new wave of coronavirus infections that has hit dozens of boarding schools countrywide are coming from parents and guardians who are not properly wearing their masks at workplaces and homes.

A number of schools have been forced to go on localised lockdowns after an upsurge of cases of the coronavirus. Schools which have had to shut down in the past few weeks include Sanyati Baptist High and Chinhoyi High in Mashonaland West, Waddilove High and Goromonzi High in Mashonaland East, John Tallach High in Matebeleland North and Matopo High in Matebeleland South provinces.

There have also been coronavirus cases at Bulawayo-based Christian Brothers College, Anderson Adventist High in Gweru, among several others.

Despite calls by legislators and other stakeholders including teachers unions for Government to shut down schools, Mathema said measured were instead being put in place so that schools can run smaller classes and minimise the risk of a spike in Covid-19 infections.

We are adhering to preventative protocols and we have systems in place to respond to any cases. For example, like what happened at John Tallach we quickly activated our systems to contain the spread and make sure learners are safe.

However, there are people in our communities who are not adhering to guidelines. These people are guardians and parents, they are risking everyone, and we continue to implore the proper wearing of face masks.

Of course at the moment we do not have that evidence but we are suspecting that infections are coming from home, with parents and guardians who are not properly wearing their masks,” he said.

Mathema added that between 15 000 and 20 000 qualified but unemployed teachers are being recruited by the Ministry in line with a directive from President Mnangagwa and the World Health Organisation (WHO) for class sizes to be reduced.

President Mnangagwa directed that we should employ all qualified teachers and we have started that process with our ministry, the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development,” said Minister Mathema.

WHO and the Ministry of Health requires us to reduce the number of learners in a classroom to minimise the risk of spreading the virus. We have recruited more teachers so that we break our classes into smaller numbers and we are working on recruiting more.

The Ministry of Health has done very well in this regard. If you look at doctors and nurses most of the qualified staff are employed and we want a model that will also see all our professionals being employed as well.”

Mathema said his ministry, with the technical support from the Ministry of Health and Child Care, had done well in response to the pandemic, but said those not observing public health protocols were a worry.

Credit: Zimbabwe Voice

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