By Leonard Ncube
Shalom Kids Learning Centre, a private primary school in Victoria Falls, has been defying lockdown regulations by conducting physical lessons. The country has been experiencing a catastrophic surge in new Covid-19 cases, forcing Government to delay opening of schools.
Last month, Health and Child Care Minister and Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga bemoaned complacency by citizens in the war against the pandemic which has killed 1 878 people since the first case was detected in March last year.
As of Monday, the country’s cumulative confirmed cases had risen to 54 474 cases, with 40 239 recoveries. Zimbabwe’s chief coordinator for national response to Covid-19 Dr Agnes Mahomva also reiterated Government’s concern about people’s complacency.
Zimbabwe Aids Project Clinic where 14 Covid-19 patients are currently being detained, is a stone’s throw from Shalom Kids Learning Centre.
Each pupil pays US$170 per term.
A news crew got wind that the school was open last week and noticed some children going to attend lessons.
A visit to the institution yesterday morning showed that Grade Five, Six and Seven classes are the ones that are attending lessons.
Pupils started arriving at the school located in BD847 from about 7.30AM.
While there were three pupils that were seemingly checking temperature and sanitising their colleagues, the exercise appeared to be merely procedural with proper protocols not being followed.
A pupil noticed the news crew taking pictures as she entered the gate and told her colleagues in class.
A female teacher walked out of the school gate with the intention to confirm the pupil’s claim and quickly walked back before children were immediately dismissed.
Chronicle gathered that pupils were instructed to leave in pairs to avoid being captured on camera as a group.
They were also reportedly instructed not to return to school and to tell anyone who asked that they had only gone to collect homework books and not reveal that they had been learning all along.
Lessons have been going on for a week after schools closed last month and did not stop even after the announcement of lockdown measures by President Mnangagwa, neighbours in nearby houses confirmed.
The school head, Ms Sibonokuhle Sibanda, declined to comment saying she was not authorised to speak to the press.
“I am not allowed to speak, which you know that we are subordinate to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education,” she said without disputing that the school has been defying lockdown regulations.
Matabeleland North provincial education director Mr Jabulani Mpofu said no school is exempted from the lockdown.
“That’s is not allowed and putting children in danger, and besides, that’s defying the President who announced the lockdown,” he said.
President Mnangagwa announced a level four lockdown last week and all gatherings are prohibited under the restrictions.
Hwange district medical officer Dr Fungai Musinami-Mvura said she was not aware of the school’s violation of lockdown measures and said an investigation will be done. The Chronicle