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Covid-19: Govt to supervise boarding schools

By Nqobile Tshili

No pupil succumbed to Covid-19 when schools opened last year and Government will be conducting intense supervision of boarding schools to ensure that the spike that was recorded in the previous term is prevented.

Howard High School students take selfies before leaving Harare ahead of the opening of the first term of schooling at Rotten Row Bus Terminus yesterday. — (Picture by Innocent Makawa)
Howard High School students take selfies before leaving Harare ahead of the opening of the first term of schooling at Rotten Row Bus Terminus in January 2019. — (Picture by Innocent Makawa)

Schools are set to open on Monday, March 15 for examination classes and a week later non-examination classes will also open.

This comes as Government has also released the 2021 school calendar.

The calendar will see the first term ending on June 4, the second term beginning on June 28, ending on September 10 while the third term will start on October 4 ending on December 17.

The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is in the process of assessing schools’ preparedness ahead of the start of 2021 term one.

Primary and Secondary Education Ministry director of communication and advocacy Mr Taungana Ndoro yesterday said Government was satisfied with measures being implemented to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in schools.

The ministry last year adopted standard operating procedures given the new normal caused by Covid-19.

Learners were banned from hugging and went on break at different intervals to ensure social distancing, among other measures.

Mr Ndoro said Government will be closely monitoring boarding schools to ensure that pupils are protected from Covid-19.

“As the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, we are pleased that no single learner succumbed to Covid-19 in the previous year.

“The ministry has always taken issues of Covid-19 seriously. However, the surge in Covid-19 cases in schools towards the end of last year was a clarion call for us to double our efforts in combating the coronavirus in our schools. More supervision, particularly of boarding schools, will be carried out to ensure that they comply with the World Health Organisation and national guidelines on Covid-19,” said Mr Ndoro.

He said schools will be opening at a difficult time as they are facing budgetary challenges.

“Indeed, the majority of our schools experienced challenges because of non-collection of revenue during the coronavirus-induced lockdown so it was a challenge to pay for day-to-day expenses,” he said.

Mr Ndoro said the ministry was waiting for Treasury to release funds to support some of the learning institutions.

“The ministry got support from Treasury last year. The money allocated was disbursed to schools to procure PPE and other Covid-19 abatement equipment.

“In 2021, the ministry is set to get funding for borehole drilling and water reticulation,” said Mr Ndoro.

He said the ministry was compiling statistics on the number of pupils that dropped out of school due to various reasons last year. The Chronicle

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