PREPARATIONS for the reopening of schools have reached an advanced stage with Government inspecting all schools to ensure they are compliant with Covid-19 control protocols to avoid a spike in infections.

Meanwhile, President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to announce new lockdown measures today.

Mnangagwa is expected to ease the measures banking on the recent figures indicating a reduction in new cases being recorded.

The government has attributed the reduced cases to the interventions put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Latest Covid-19 cases in Zimbabwe are as follows:

As of the 28th of February 2021, there was no new deaths.

All deaths stood at 1463.

New cases were 31 all are local cases.

The overall number of cases were 36089, new recoveries at 76, while recoveries stood at 32666.

The total number of active cases were 1960.

Apparently, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education officials, working in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, are inspecting schools to ascertain if adequate measures, informed by World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines, are in place.

The government says the nationwide inspection of schools will include private and mission schools.

Schools reopening is drawing closer following the recently launched countrywide vaccination programme.

Primary and Secondary Education Minister Ambassador Cain Mathema reported positive feedback in the ongoing assessments.

“We are assessing the preparedness of all schools so that they will be ready to open when we have been authorised to do so.

“We do not want a situation where other schools will not be ready when we are allowed to resume classes.

“We have done this before, like the writing of examinations in a safe environment for learners and we want to make sure the learning environment is safe. All the schools have to comply to ensure the safety of both learners and teachers,” he said.

Minister Mathema said the exercise was not meant to inconvenience parents, learners and teachers, but a move to ensure safety for all stakeholders, dismissing some baseless claims that students might be affected by the measures.

He said it was disheartening that learners were not going to school because of the Covid-19 containment measures which were, however, meant to protect them from the virus.

“We want a situation where learners are at school. We are not happy that they are not going to school and some are being involved in mischief.

“But like what the President has always been saying, we need to prioritise life.

“We are in the middle of a global pandemic and it is not safe to have children in a school environment.

“My appeal to parents is to make sure their children leave their homes with face masks. Even schools are now manufacturing them.

“When students are at schools, we have systems in place to monitor adherence,” Minister Mathema told the Herald.

In keeping with social distancing rules, the classes would be broken into smaller groups handled by additional teachers.

Following a directive from President Mnangagwa, Government is employing more teachers enabling schools to run smaller classes and minimise the risk of a spike in Covid-19 infections.

Last year, Government also availed $600 million for disbursement to needy schools to improve sanitation and enable them to reopen safely without risking a spike in Covid-19 infections.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care said they had given their Primary and Secondary Education counterparts guidelines to follow for a safe resumption of classes.

The guidelines, crafted by medical experts, are anchored on minimising the risk of infecting others through the enforcement of social distancing regulations among other things.

The Herald/ Zwnews