PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday called on public schools and universities to prepare for re-opening after he relaxed most of the national Covid-19 lockdown measures.
Schools and universities across the country were closed for most of last year after the lethal pandemic broke out in March and are yet to open for the first term this year.
Reviewing the lockdown measures yesterday, Mnangagwa said re-opening of public schools and universities was imminent, but did not announce the actual dates.
“Schools must prepare to open and put in place measures which observe World Health Organisation protocols and national Covid-19 guidelines,” Mnangagwa said in his televised address to the nation.
“Virtual learning or long distance learning is encouraged where possible. Universities and colleges must prepare to open and ensure compliance with WHO protocols and national Covid-19 guidelines.”
The ministries of Primary and Secondary Education and Health and Child Care have been visiting schools and universities to ensure adequate measures were in place.
“We are assessing the preparedness of all schools so that they will be ready to open when we have been authorised to do so.
“We do not want a situation where some schools will not be ready when we are allowed to resume classes,” Primary and Secondary Education minister Cain Mathema was quoted saying at the weekend.
“We have done this before, like the writing of examinations in a safe environment for learners and we want to make sure the learning environment is safe. All the schools have to comply to ensure the safety of both learners and teachers.”
The country last week rolled out a Covid-19 vaccination programme. The first phase targets 150 000 frontline workers, who include those in the health sector, police, military, prisons, immigration, customs and the media.
The second phase will see those above 60 years old, the chronically ill, teachers and prisoners receiving the jabs. The rest of the population will be vaccinated in the third and final phase, with Zimbabwe hoping to inoculate at least 60 percent of the public, which translates to at least 10 million people.
Zimbabwe’s efforts in combating coronavirus received a huge boost after China doubled its SinoPharm vaccine donations to 400 000 doses last week as part of its solidarity with Zimbabwe, while India also pledged to give the country 70 000 doses.
The country will take delivery of 600 000 more doses it bought from China this month.