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Teachers urges government to provide PPEs before reopening schools

by Kudakwashe Vhenge

By Tafadzwa Chigandiwa 

Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) and Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) have urged government to prioritize providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to all teachers and students ahead of schools re-opening.

The teachers unions said this will provide a safe environment as it will curb the spread of Covid-19.

“Government should not focus on declaring dates. They should focus on testing and vaccinating all willing teachers, provide enough PPEs and ensure that our schools are Covid-19 safe,” ARTUZ president, Obert Masaraure said.

His counterpart, PTUZ Secretary for Research, Josiphat Gwezhira added that government must not announce the opening date on time and not ambush learners.

“We hope that after two weeks, government will not ambush us to inform that a date for schools to open in now set. There is a lot of preparations that is supposed to take place, a lot of schools do not have enough PPES and these PPEs have to be distributed before schools commence, not after,” he said.

Gwezhira also indicated that the issue of vaccines and testing of learners and teachers is vital.

“We heard that government will roll out vaccines soon, those that wish to be vacccinated should do so. We all know that teachers are frontline workers,” he added.

Furthermore, he went on to point that the Ministry of Education is ought to come clear on what they expect from those who have underlying conditions.

He then stressed that a policy in relation to what the ministry is bound to do to these teachers must be implemented before schools open.

The novel Covid-19 pandemic has forced the government to adopt to a strict lockdown restricting several activities in the country.

Education sector, all sporting activities and non essential services are some of the activities that have been affected.

Permanent Secretary of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Nick Mangwana on Twitter recently said schools are to remain closed until the decision is reviewed.

“Many are asking about the opening of schools. In its first meeting of 2021, Cabinet resolved that schools remain closed for another two weeks. This position will be reviewed at the end of 2 weeks,” he wrote.

Schools were set to re-open on January 4 this year before government postponed their opening due to a spike in Covid-19 cases after the festive season.

Last year, schools briefly opened and were closed on the 18th of December.

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