SCHOOLS have finally opened and started in earnest for all classes.

And we appreciate the fact that the Government put to the fore the life of every Zimbabwean child by deferring schools’ reopening until it was safe to do so.

We hope that all schools have put in place safety measures to ensure that students, teachers and support staff are safe as COVID-19 is still very much with us.

Indeed, school authorities must find ways to improve hygiene measures. 

The equipment for hand washing must be readily available to all learners and must be strategically placed around school premises and be fully functional.

School authorities can work on ways to contain smaller numbers of pupils per class, sanitising and checking  temperature as well as all protocols consistent with the Ministry of Health and Child Care and World Health Organisation (WHO) standards.

Past experiences show that even after schools are opened, there is need to stagger the start and close of the school day, stagger mealtimes for boarding schools, consider moving classes to temporary spaces or outdoors, holding school lessons in shifts and reducing class sizes. 

These measures remain important to prevent a new spike. Cleaning procedures for facilities at schools must be well-thought out with regards to food preparation and serving practices, especially for boarding schools.

Both learners and teachers must adopt the new normal.

And there should be no complacency in adhering to prevention measures such as proper wearing of masks, washing of hands and physical distancing.

We will not tire repeating the message that victory against the pandemic is solely dependent on each and every one of us.

We cannot afford to be complacent.

If we do not change our attitude and behaviour at individual level, then it is a fallacy to think that we will beat the pandemic.

The fight against COVID-19 begins with me, with you, with all of us.

We all have a responsibility and role to play in protecting one another.

Treating regulations and measures put in place to fight the pandemic as mundane will bring us disaster.

We can do better.

All it takes is each and every one of us becoming a responsible citizen and abiding by all the measures to fight COVID-19.

The precautions that we are being encouraged to take are for our own benefit as a people.

We must remember that life is precious; we only live once and cannot afford to take it for granted.

We must be responsible.

Let’s stay safe because COVID-19 is here and it is real. Do it for yourself, do it for your family and do it for your country.

To all our learners I say, let us maximise on this face-to- face time.

Learning hours must be fully utilised for we do not know what tomorrow holds.

And I pray that our teachers be committed to their duty.

These are not normal times; our children have lost a lot of schooling time.

We call for understanding from all parties concerned and tasked with the duty of moulding our young.

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