Schools to reopen this year for all learners in Zimbabwe

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 01: Desks and chairs ready for grade 12 peoples seen at Horskool Jan van Riebeeck, a Afrikaans highschool on June 01, 2020 in Cape Town, South Africa. Western Cape schools opened for grade 7 and grade 12 learners for the first time since lockdown started at the end of March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Nardus Engelbrecht/Gallo Images via Getty Images)

The Zimbabwean government announced Tuesday that schools will be reopened in a phased manner for all learners this year.

Addressing a post-cabinet press briefing Tuesday, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the phased reopening of classes for all learners will be completed by November 2020.

She said the first phase will see examination classes for the locally run Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (ZIMSEC) opening on Sept. 28, followed by non-examination classes.

Phase two will see the reopening of classes for primary school learners in Grade six and secondary school learners in Form three and five, followed by phase three which will see the rest of learners in primary and secondary schools going back to school on Nov. 9.

Government had already given the nod for British-run Cambridge examination classes to open on Sept. 14 and the minister said the government was happy that the schools had opened successfully without any COVID-19 infections reported.

The government had also set Dec. 1, 2020 as the date for commencement of ZIMSEC public examinations.

Minister Mutsvangwa said the government was readying for the successful reopening of schools, with measures being taken to ensure a safe environment for both learners and teachers.

She said the government will strive to provide personal protective equipment to all public schools to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

In a related matter, the minister also announced a further relaxation in the number of congregates that are allowed in churches from 50 to 100.

She, however, implored congregants to continue to observe COVID-19 containment measures.

She also announced the reopening of the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe and driving schools to resume offering defensive driving certificates and other services.

Dedicated buses from the State-run Zimbabwe United Passenger Company will be provided to ferry learners to schools, she said.

Zimbabwe has recorded 7,706 COVID-19 cases, 5,948 recoveries and 226 deaths as of Monday.

Minister Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwe’s COVID-19 epidemic had not peaked as previously predicted due to control measures put in place by the government.

She said the decreasing number of new infections was an indication of an epidemic coming under control.

“Cabinet however, emphasizes that the public should continue being vigilant in adhering to COVID-19 containment measures as effects of COVID-19 will continue to be felt until a vaccine is found,” she said.

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