THE government has in recent months allowed the re-opening of bars, nightclubs, beer halls, markets and churches. But schools remain closed as part of lockdown measures to contain the deadly Covid-19.
Schools, according to authorities, may become super spreaders hence keeping them shut until cases of Covid-19 infections and deaths go down.
On Friday, acting president Constantino Chiwenga gave a three weeks’ notice for schools to prepare for commencement of the 2022 school calendar.
Covid-19 is here to stay and as trends have shown this is a virus we cannot wish away, but rather adjust to new ways of doing things which has often been referred to as the new normal. With new variants constantly developing, ways to contain the disease must be found while schools are open.
Closing schools while several other sectors are open is clearly not in the best interest of children, but an exercise of denying pupils and students learning time. This is clearly putting children in double jeopardy. They are not getting learning opportunities on the guise of being protected from the virus, but at the same time exposing them to outgoing adults in their homes and neighbourhood.
Unlike in schools where protocols are enforced, there is high disregard of Covid-19 protocols at any gathering, particularly in bars, nightclubs and other hangout areas. Social distancing and wearing of masks is limited, but in schools these are better observed as they are guided by strict protocols.
Confining children to homes has given birth to vices such as drug abuse, early sexual action and unwanted pregnancies. All progressive forces should be calling for the capacitation of schools to be able to abide by all the World Health Organisation (WHO) protocols in handling the virus. This comes in the availability and accessibility of sanitisers, masks and as the government stated, vaccination of teachers and learners.
Decongesting of schools and separation of classes is another policy that can still be enforced as was seen last year, affording learners to have turns and have at least three learning days per week. This is also a wakeup call for authorities to invest in infrastructure which allows for online lessons, radio and television lessons across the country. As things stand, some schools are heavily disadvantaged in terms of infrastructure, but schools cannot close forever and it is the duty of the government to ensure that resources are evenly distributed.
Schools should be reopened and allow learners to have their education and to save a generation. Clearly, saying schools should be closed because of Covid-19 defies logic when bars and night clubs are open.