Govt has no capacity to ensure pupil’s safety

Takudzwa Mahari

Government’s hint concerning the reopening of schools has attracted mixed reactions from desperate parents who are eager to have their kids go to school but are unconvinced government would ensure their children’s safety.

In a post-cabinet briefing yesterday, Information and Publicity Minister Monica Mutsvangwa yesterday said parents should provide their children with personal protective equipment (PPE) for COVID-19 when schools reopen on a yet to be announced date.

“As the nation prepares for the reopening of schools, parents and guardians are expected to complement government efforts to provide PPE and other essential requirements for learners,” said Mutsvangwa. 

A snap survey conducted by this publication indicate that parents are willing to have schools reopened if there are extra precautionary measures to ensure pupil’s safety as well as the communities.

“Rushing children back to school while COVID-19 infections are increasing daily is irresponsible. We want our kids to go back to school and we try also by our all means necessary to provide our children personal protective equipment. However, what we want to know are preventive measures government will put in place to ensure learner’s safety,” said Busani Gangarambwe.

Another parent only identified as Telmore said: “Lets not take a gamble. Social distancing among pupils is rarely practicable and I believe that they will also share food and masks, leading to infections spreading fast among them.

But for those in tertiary institutions, I think it’s okay to open for them to learn because our education is now deteriorating in the name of the pandemic.” 

However, some parents said they were ready for their children to return to school but government must first test them for the disease before they enter school premises.

“My belief is that this virus has been blown way out of proportion and everyone is now a suspect. There are many fatalities across the country so us as parents we agree on schools opening and we provide our kids with all equipment needed but it’s good for government to make sure they admit someone who is healthy in a classroom to avoid putting children at risk,” said Maxwell Mushangazhiki.

Another parent, Memory Chingova said government should subsidise the PPE for the kids as it recently announced a budget surplus.

“I am convinced, government announced a surplus recently and instead there has to be a way government subsidises PPE for students and pupils because at the moment things are tough for parents except government. This is where they should use that surplus,” said Chingova.

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