Schools across Zimbabwe reopen today for next year’s examination classes — Grade Six, Form Three and Form Five — for the first time since classes were disrupted by the coronavirus crisis in late March.
This follows the return of three examination classes on 28 September, with final nine classes scheduled to return on November 9.
Reports, however, suggest that some school authorities were cashing in on the COVID-19 pandemic by forcing parents and guardians to buy school-branded masks for as much as US$5.
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education director of communications Tongoona Ndoro said that it was illegal for schools to demand personal protective equipment from parents. He said:
We are investigating the issue where schools are said to be forcing parents to buy face masks at exorbitant prices.
Some schools are reportedly providing teachers with “incentives” as teachers’ unions have declared incapacitation since schools reopened nearly a month ago. A concerned parent said:
With what is happening it is better for us to pay the little incentives to teachers so that they return to the classroom to teach our children.
Our children have already lost a lot of time as they have been stuck at home for seven months without learning.
We just hope Government will urgently address the teachers’ concerns so that normalcy returns to schools. Our children’s future is at stake.
Under the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education’s standard operating procedures amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it is mandatory for learners to wear masks while handshakes, hugs and sharing of desks and textbooks have been banned.
Schools will now be required to keep records of teachers and pupils with underlying conditions without stigmatising them.
Further, a maximum of 35 pupils will be permitted in a single classroom as learners and teachers will be required to maintain a physical or social distancing of at least one metre while lunch breaks will be staggered.More: The Herald
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