Mberengwa Schools Record Covid-19 Cases Among Students (Full Text)
Schools in Mberengwa have recorded Covid-19 cases among students according to a report released by the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ).
In a report dated 14 September, PTUZ President Takavafira Zhou said 40 cases were confirmed at Masase High School, 60 at Chegato High. Zhou said students at Masase, Chegato, Mnene and Msume as well as some neighbouring schools should be tested in order to contain the spread of Covid-19.
Pindula News presents the full report by Zhou below:
Mberengwa Schools Hard Hit by Covid 19
14 September 2021
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Indeed several schools in Zimbabwe have recently witnessed escalated cases of covid 19 following reopening of schools without adequate preparations to combat it. A survey by Ptuz showed that 98% of schools were not prepared and 2% of largely private schools, were prepared to open. However, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education officials claimed their so called standard operation procedures were so solid that they would combat covid 19.
We therefore have seen several schools such as Nyamuka Primary School, Kriste Mambo High, Tongwe High, Neshangwe High and Bulu High witnessing cases of covid 19 among pupils. However, there is no doubt that Mberengwa District is the most hard hit area with 40 cases confirmed at Masase High School, 60 at Chegato High. Impeccable sources have also pointed to 7 covid positive out of tests conducted on 12 students showing signs of covid at Msume today, and 8 at Mnene High School. Much as it is difficult to point with certainty the source of the escalation of covid pandemic in Mberengwa in particular and Zimbabwe in general, the mere conglomeration of students from various areas experiencing covid cases such as Harare, Bulawayo and South Africa seem to be the source. Chegato, Masase, Msume and Mnene are the best schools in Mberengwa with previous national records and therefore attract students from across the country and regionally. The accessibility of the area to South Africa with some business people ordering goods from South Africa for sell in Mberengwa is another possible source of covid. What is worrisome is that these schools have no adequate testing kits to test all students and some students are still awaiting the arrival of testing kits.
There is need to test all students at Masase, Chegato, Mnene and Msume in particular as well as some neighbouring schools in order to contain the spread of covid 19. The schools need urgent assistance in terms of covid abatement equipment, managenent of quarantine areas, toiletries, food and feeding of quarantined students, health education, provision of water, and psychological therapy. A government intervention to urgently assist affected schools is needed rather than leaving school heads and teachers to navigate across challenges. It is sad that Ministry of Education officials are now in hibernation when in essence they should be assessing the operating environment at the most affected schools and advicing on how best to ameliorate the challenges faced at the schools. Chegato and Masase are the most affected where even day scholars are also quarantined and the schools have responsibility to feed them yet they had not paid for boarding facilities.
Dr Takavafira M. Zhou, Ptuz President)