The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) reports that over 100 students in Matabeleland South, Mashonaland East and Manicaland have tested positive for Covid-19.
PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou said Monday that the decision to open schools by government was “suicidal”.
“Decision to open schls was suicidal. Cases at Nyamuka Pri and Kriste Mambo (Manic), Tongwe High (Mat South), and Neshangwe High (Mash East). With more than 100 case of affected students Masase and Chegato High Schools (where I learnt), are the most affected. Cry the blvd pupils,” Zhou said through his Twitter handle.
Government finally declared the reopening of Zimbabwean schools August 31 this year after a prolonged three-month closure due to a surge in new Covid-19 infections and deaths.
The cases have since subsided.
But teachers’ groups still felt the reopening of schools was ill-advised on the part of the authorities owing to insufficient preparation to avoid the spread of the dreaded disease among learners.
FULL STATEMENT BY TAKAVAFIRA ZHOU
Heads Must Roll as Educational Genocide Emerges in Schools
13 September 2021
As Ptuz we made it categorically clear without any equivocation or ambiguity that 98% of schools were not ready for opening but Ministry Officials claimed they were ready. Just two weeks after opening covid 19 is spreading like wildfire in Schools in Zimbabwe. Where is the propagandist Taungana Ndoro, where is Hon Cain Matema, where is Mrs Thabela. Lies have short legs.
We challenge Cabinet Ministers to visit Nyamuka Primary (Manicaland), Kriste Mambo (Manicaland), Tongwe High (Mat South), Neshangwe High (Mashonaland East), Masase High (Midlands), Chegato High (Midlands) and many other schools.
Schools are running short of testing kits and in some schools after only testing ‘A’ and ‘O’ level students, more that 75 have been confirmed positive at one school.
Worse still not all ‘A’ and ‘O’ level students have been tested as schools ran out of testing kits. When we give professional advice, Ministry officials must listen rather than make decisions from the comfort of their offices.
It is prudent to prioritise the health and safety of teachers and pupils rather than throwing all cautions to the wind. There is virtually no covid abatement equipment in schools, let alone running water.
The bloated classes and hostels are a cause for concern, yet medalist in verbal marathon lie through their teeth that schools are ready. For the avoidance of doubt I am a product of Masase High School and Chegato High School, and feel directly affected when students’ health and safety there and in any other school are compromised.
As Ptuz we urge gvt to mellow down to a more constructive approach permeable to reason and facts rather than making decisions based on lies. Life is more important than lies. Where did the $750 million and another $500 million go to, if students have no covid abatement equipment in schools?
As Ptuz we called for testing of 140 000 teachers, more than 5 million pupils, and ancillary staff before conglomeration in schools. But for some warped, vague and vacuous reasoning the Ministry officials fronted by their Goebbels, Taungana Ndoro, claimed otherwise.
If gvt cannot provide health and safety to teachers and pupils, let alone address the welfare of teachers, it would be prudent for teachers, parents and pupils to safeguard their lives by all means necessary.
Henceforth we urge teachers to stop teaching in all schools where Covid 19 cases have been confirmed until further notice. We also urge parents to stop sending their children to such schools until fumigation of the school and covid effects are arrested. We also urge gvt to forthwith provide covid abatement equipment to all schools in Zimbabwe and stop their homelitic bellicose.
Covid is real and our haphazardous meddling and muddling in opening schools is already producing disastrous results. When education officials pride in lies and peddle such to the president, such officials must be dismissed forthwith.
Dr Takavafira M. Zhou (Ptuz President)