Teachers’ unions on Wednesday said that a majority of their members were yet to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and were psychologically unprepared for school reopening.
Government last week gazetted Statutory Instrument (SI) 210 of 2021, stating that schools will remain closed until August 10, 2021, but preparing to reopen.
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However, teachers’ unions that spoke to NewsDay yesterday expressed reservations over the impending reopening of schools citing a lack of preparedness on the part of their members, the majority of whom were not vaccinated.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) acting national secretary-general Goodwill Taderera said the government should be guided by science on issues of the opening of schools for the second term. Said Taderera:
If we compare statistics this time around to last year’s lockdown figures, they have more than doubled.
There has been a serious scourge. The majority of teachers have not been vaccinated.
Our encouragement is that the government must look at the graph.
It must be informed by scientific evidence, and then we can talk about schools opening.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said:
Teachers are incapacitated and we are losing a lot of our fellow workers almost on a daily basis now.
If the government is sincere and honest, it should roll out a vaccination programme for teachers just like it did for nurses.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe president Obert Masaraure said:
There are important issues that need to be attended to before schools open, such as teachers’ incapacitation.
Teachers are at the centre of the standard operation in education.
On Wednesday, the country recorded 1 091 new coronavirus infections and 35 deaths.
Out of the 10 million the country aims to vaccinate, only 1 740 598 had got their first jab, while 863 667 got their second jab.