Reopening of schools welcome

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 EDITOR – THE decision to re-open schools is very welcome and comes at a time the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases has gone down and Government has managed to get infection rates from the Fourth Wave under control. 

I commend Government for providing due diligence by implementing measures to curb the spread of the virus and ensuring that safety measures are in place before opening schools. 

COVID-19 variant omicron is very transmissible — even children have not been spared. 

Most of them are not eligible for vaccination yet, meaning doing all we can to try and protect them from the virus. 

Children must be encouraged to practise all COVID-19 measures, like physical distancing, hand hygiene, wearing of masks and isolating symptomatic children, while teachers should get vaccinated and all service providers in schools as well as their caregivers at home. 

That way, we minimise the risk of infections 

Only 34 percent of Zimbabweans aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated and that is a bit worrisome. 

Vaccines are readily available and people should take up this chance to get vaccinated and boosted. 

Last year, there were COVID-19 outbreaks in schools but they were not many. 

We hope we have a more stable situation than that of last year, as we, as well as our children, have become more ‘acquainted’ with the virus. 

We know what we need to do to avoid these waves, and hopefully we can be able to avoid a Fifth Wave altogether. 

Government released this year’s school calendar with 185 days. 

The first term begins on Monday, February 7, ending on April 7, so this will give students 45 days for face-to-face learning. 

The holiday will have 26 days before schools open for the second term on May 3. There will be 69 school days followed by a 30-day holiday, and the final term will begin on September 5 with schools running for 71 learning days. 

Drug and alcohol abuse has become rampant in many Zimbabwean communities as well as early sexual activity resulting in pregnancies and early marriages. 

We call for a collective effort to ensure that COVID-19 does not get to disable the system we now have in place. 

It would be delightful if the year were to end with no disruptions to the school calendar. 

Let us continue to be safe. 

Let us all get vaccinated. 

Nathaniel Mare, 

Harare. 

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