Teacher unions Wednesday claimed that about 50 school heads and several teachers tested positive for the coronavirus when schools reopened on Monday for examination classes.
The claims were made by Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou while the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) chief executive, Sifiso Ndlovu, also confirmed reports of the virus hitting school heads, learners and teachers.
Zhou blamed the government for failing to put in place adequate measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. He said:
As of yesterday, more than 50 school heads across the country tested positive to COVID-19, while several other teachers and pupils are vulnerable. The ministry has not come up with a robust approach to COVID-19, thereby leaving teachers and pupils vulnerable.
Indeed, 2020 must best be remembered as a wasted year in terms of starvation wages educators received and the failure to prioritise the health and safety of teachers and pupils. But if anything, 2021 may be worse.
Ndlovu confirmed the soaring cases of teachers testing positive for COVID-19, saying it was ill-advised to open schools when the country was recording a surge in new infections. He said:
Schools are likely to be clusters of spreaders in the wake of what we are witnessing. We have a problem given that testing is inadequate and expensive for educators and learners.
Meanwhile, Primary and Secondary Education deputy minister Edgar Moyo and Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education chairperson Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said they were yet to get the report.
The committee on Education report last year had recommended the closure of schools and had hoped the government would be able to deal with smaller numbers of those writing examinations.
Stakeholders have been opposed to the idea of reopening schools saying teachers and learners should stay at home to save their lives.