Students of Anderson High School in Gweru during a prayer service (FILE PHOTO)

Zimbabwe schools re-opening: Earliest possible date is August 10

THE Zimbabwe Government last week gazetted statutory instrument SI210 of 2021 which confirms under the public health regulations the announcement made last week that schools will remain closed until the Government says otherwise.

Schools have been closed for six weeks now following a spike in cases as the third wave set in.

The statutory instrument was the 31st amendment to the consolidated lockdown regulations issued in October last year and it basically moved forward the earliest possible legal reopening date from July 27 to August 10.

This means schools remain closed until August 10 as the latest statutory instrument extends the original closure for another two weeks. However, Government made it clear that while schools and parents must prepare for the re-opening, this will only happen when the risk to children is significantly lower.

But leading teachers’ union, the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), urged Government to postpone exams set for October to next year January as there has been hardly any learning.

“Six weeks after learners were supposed to have reopened, it’s still not clear when they will. We call on Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to postpone the exams to January, at the least. These kids learned for only 3 months since last year. Radio and television lessons reach less than 10% of candidates,” said the PTUZ.

The closure of schools has been extended through statutory instruments a fortnight at a time as Zimbabwe fights the third wave.

The third wave is retreating slowly, but infection rates are still at historically very high levels.

In its latest public update, the Ministry of Health and Child Care says Zimbabwe recorded 1 309 news cases and 52 deaths on Monday.

“As at 02 August 2021, Zimbabwe had 110 855 confirmed cases, including 79 420 recoveries and 3 635 deaths. To date, a total of 1 674 710 people have been vaccinated against COVID-19.”

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