Preparations for the reopening of schools are underway in some rural communities amid fears of an increase in COVID-19 infections.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education announced that the reopening of schools will be done in phases with the 2020 exam classes resuming first followed by the 2021 exam classes, two weeks or three weeks later. They also announced that before the resumption, schools should ensure that all COVID-19 precautionary measures are put in place.
Schools in Matobo Wards 5 and 11 have reportedly conducted meetings with key stakeholders to discuss COVID-19 precautionary measures that should be put in place ahead of the reopening of schools. While the idea has been met with mixed feelings, rural communities have taken proactive steps to ensure that resources for preventing COVID-19 are put in place.
In a meeting at Beula Primary School, Matobo Ward 5, it was agreed that parents will fetch water to be placed in strategic points, and classes will only accommodate 10 pupils to ensure social distancing.
In Matobo Ward 11, the task of ensuring that schools have adequate water in light of the pandemic was given to the village health workers and case care workers who will also monitor other COVID-19 related regulations when schools open.
However, Habakkuk Trust Community Advocacy Action Teams from various parts of Matabeleland expressed concerns over the ill-preparedness of the country and failure to provide a robust strategy of preventing the spread of Coronavirus. Some raised fears that while it may be possible to enforce regulations within school premises, it might be impossible to ensure adherence as pupils travel to and from schools unattended. This may in an uncontrollable surge of COVID-19 infections across the country.
Source: Habakkuk Trust