Zim Schools Record 430 Covid-19 Cases

Schools have recorded a total of 430 Covid-19 cases since they opened two weeks ago, with Matabeleland South Province accounting for most of the cases.

Several cases have also been recorded at schools in Midlands, Masvingo and Mashonaland East, forcing government to step up measures to strengthen health protocols at learning institutions.

Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education’s director of communication and advocacy Mr Taungana Ndoro confirmed that Government had a plan to deal with the outbreaks.

"We are proud of our scientific surveillance through our standard guidelines for the coordinated prevention and management of Covid-19 pandemic at all learning institutions," said Mr Ndoro.

According to the schools’ standard operating protocols, all infected students must be isolated in sick bays or special dormitories that have been created at the institutions.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Dr Takavafira Zhou urged Government to provide more testing kits in schools. He also confirmed that three teachers in Masvingo had tested positive for Covid-19 recently.

Teachers unions had previously warned the government that re-opening of schools in the prevailing situation makes schools the next COVID-19 hotspots.

President of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) Obert Masaraure said, "Government has failed to adequately fund adherence to Standard Operating Procedures in Schools. Only ZWL$ 500 million has been disbursed to schools. The amount is inadequate to address the multiple challenges in our schools. Our schools will once again become COVID 19 hotspots," he said.

However, government has ordered all civil servants in Zimbabwe to be fully vaccinated for Covid-19 by October 15 or face disciplinary action for failing to obey a lawful instruction according to Statutory Instrument 234.

The relevant section of the amendment as it concerns civil servants reads:

“Every member of the Public Service shall be fully vaccinated, and any member not so vaccinated shall be barred from the workplace after 15 October, 2021, and not be paid while he or she is so barred; (any member) who refuses to be fully vaccinated shall be subject to disciplinary proceedings on the basis that he or she failed to obey a lawful instruction.”

“Provided that if the head of Ministry or head of department is satisfied that any member of the Public Service who is employed in that Ministry or department has a reasonable excuse for not being fully vaccinated by the 15th October, 2021 (which excuse shall be recorded in writing and promptly notified by the head concerned to the Commission), the head concerned may in relation to that member extend the vaccine mandate to no later than 31 December, 2021."

Sydney Chako

Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics teacher at Sytech Learning Academy. From Junior Secondary School to Tertiary Level Engineering Mathematics and Engineering Science.

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