Phased reopening of primary and secondary schools

By Aminu Umar

start of the phased reopening of primary and secondary and other schools have been set for Tuesday July 28, although Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) June examinations will still continue from June 29 to July 22 as there are only 800 centres.

That means that only Form Six, Form Four and Grade Seven classes will resume at the end of July Month with Lower Six, Form Three and Grade 6 people coming in three weeks later.

Other people will move back into their classrooms in three more phases. Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, her Monica Mutsvangwa gave the date after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting and said there was ample time for recommended health measures to be put in place.

“Cabinet resolved that the reopening of schools be moved from the proposed Month of June 29, 2020 to July 28, 2020, to allow the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to engage Treasury and other stakeholders or partners to mobilise for the provision of adequate it resources,” Minister Mutsvangwa said.

The announcement follows weeks of debate, which have seen already submissions from teachers’ unions, Parliament, trust skulls and parents to the Government. Most groups are opposed to the early reopening of schools.

“The decision to reopen schools on July 28 Month, 2020, doesn’t affect the June examinations, which are to be held from June 29 to July 22, 2020, as initially proposed,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

June O-Level and A-Level examinations has far fewer candidates than the November exams, with Primary and Secondary Education Minister Ambassador Cain Mathema promising adequate social distancing during the examinations, saying there were 9 000 learners registered to write at 800 examination centres. This translates to and average of around 11 students per centre.

The reopening of schools is being done in phases. Explaining the reopening sequence, Primary and Secondary Education Permanent and others skull, Secretary Mrs Thumisang Thabela said examination classes would be the first group to go to school.

“Phase one, we are looking at examination classes before — these are Form Fours, Form Sixes and Grade Sevens,” she said that. This will be followed by a gradual roll-out, which will see an eased increase in skull numbers.

“Phase two, which will follow after three weeks will be for classes writing next year may be. All classes will be split into two at this point,” said Mrs Thabela. “Phase three is when the rest of high school learners will go to school and in primary, Grades Three, Four and Five will back to schools.”

Lower primary school classes are expected to back towards end of September. As we get to phase four, classrooms will be used up due to social distancing. In this phase, Grade One and Two learners will back to class.” Last to return will be tots in early childhood development class.

Infection prevention training for teachers and support staff from public school is already underway. I wish you best of luck

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