The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has blamed “errant” school authorities for the current spike in new coronavirus infections in schools after they ignored a government directive not to allow boarding pupils to travel home for the Easter holidays.
Ministry of Education spokesperson Taungana Ndoro said the infected pupils got the coronavirus from outside and brought it to the schools. Said Ndoro:
Government banned the travelling of boarding pupils for the Easter holidays, but some errant school authorities permitted pupils to go out and allowed some parents to see their children.
The pupils contracted the virus from outside, resulting in cases developing in schools. That explains why cases are spiking soon after the Easter holidays.
This comes after Sacred Heart Girls High School in Esigodini was closed on Thursday after 51 pupils tested positive for COVID-19.
Another unnamed school in Umzingwane, presumed to be Umzingwane High School recorded 55 cases on the same day.
Meanwhile, the Chief coordinator of the national response to COVID-19, Agnes Mahomva said the government was monitoring closely cases of COVID-19 in schools. She said:
We are investigating why the schools recorded new cases when there are robust standard operating procedures put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.
After investigations, we will analyse the outcomes and try to address the loopholes which might have led to the emergence of new cases in schools.
We will advise the nation of the new preventative measures if there is a need.
Prince Edward High School located in Harare was the first school to report new coronavirus cases since the commencement of the First Term on 15 March.
Seven pupils at the institution tested positive for COVID-19 after undergoing PCR tests at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals.