Mathema Threatens Sanctions Against Schools Violating Covid-19 Protocols

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

EDUCATION Minister Cain Mathema has warned drastic measures will be taken against Zimbabwean school authorities who fail to disclose possible risks or do not comply with government directives aimed at managing Covid-19 situations at any local school.

This comes after several local schools have been recording numerous cases of Covid-19 among students.

“The Ministry is calling upon all heads of schools to guard against complacency and ensure full compliance with health protocols as directed through the Standard Operating Procedures,” Mathema said in a statement Sunday.

“All schools should strongly reinforce the following health promoting behaviours among learners and staff, consistent daily temperature checks.

“Ensuring that the thermometers used for screening learners are in good working order at all times, with replacement batteries in stock, consistent and proper wearing of clean masks, consistent physical and social distancing.”

The minister also said sanctions shall be used on school authorities who fail to ensure regular and correct handwashing or allow overcrowding at entry points, in classrooms, during break-time, in dining halls and in boarding hostels, and common rooms including libraries.

“No hugging, hand holding or touching, correct mouth, nose and eye hygiene, good toilet hygiene, safe handling of all body fluids, no sharing of items without proper sanitizing of hand-held objects and safe, clean schools with regular disinfection of commonly touched surfaces.

Mathema said as the 2021 winter season approaches, the success of the preventive measures against the spread of Covid-19 among learners depended heavily on the leadership of each school head as well as the cooperation among teachers, learners, parents and communities at large.

“Within the context of the national Covid-19 response, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, have put in place a systematic disease surveillance procedure which requires daily screening of all learners and staff during the school term,” he said.

“This surveillance and monitoring system has been a success as many cases of Covid-19, that would otherwise go undetected, have been identified and managed through the school system.

“Our schools have become a necessary barometer for detection and management of Covid-19 nationwide.”

Although there have been a lot of cases reported among learners in various schools, there have been fewer to no cases of any fatalities.