The Progressive Teachers Union (PTUZ) has criticised the government for reopening schools without proper mechanisms to combat coronavirus infections.
In a statement on Friday, PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou said that there are over 50 schools across the country that have recorded COVID-19 cases but the testing process is hindered by a critical shortage of testing kits. Said Zhou:
It is clear we have a covid threat in schools and communities. There is an urgent need for a broad-based intervention plan as COVID-19 threaten learning in many schools that are fast becoming quarantine centres.
Such intervention must be based on open engagement of government officials, health officials, teacher unions and parents.
Truth rather than a facade of lies peddled by Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education officials must be the guiding principle.
Zhou called on President Emmerson Mnangagwa to sack the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Cain Mathema.
He said Mathema misled the Cabinet and the President into opening schools without adequate measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The outspoken unionist suggested an array of possible interventions that can stem the coronavirus tidal wave. Zhou said:
As of now, there is an urgent need for govt intervention in affected schools with food, toiletries, sanitary wear, tents, drilling of boreholes, psycho-social support etc.
It is also prudent to second health officials to monitor and advise on the management of quarantine centres in schools.
Assistance with learning gadgets to affected students can also go a long way as teachers can hardly have direct contact with COVID-19 positive students.
A comprehensive plan to test all students, teachers and ancillary staff at the affected schools is a panacea to combating COVID-19…
Zhou’s remarks come after several schools across the country have recorded COVID-19 cases since schools reopened just over two weeks ago.