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Schools prepare to reopen exam classes

As part of planning for the imminent return of exam classes in schools, stakeholders are now working out the practical logistics for the needed safe and secure conditions for children to return, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said yesterday.

In her briefing after a meeting of the ad hoc Inter-ministerial Taskforce on Covid-19, she said the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education had come on board in the production of personal protective equipment, another testament of the competency-based curriculum.

“The education system has been disrupted and now we have to think and work outside the box to ensure that it does not suffer irreparably and our learners are not disadvantaged,” she said.

President Mnangagwa had already directed that “public exam classes within schools and final year students at colleges and universities must be allowed to continue recognising however, the stipulated Covid-19 prevention measures”.

Minister Mutsvangwa said consultations were being conducted at provincial, district and cluster level with stakeholders on the practical logistics for safe and secure conditions for all examination classes to begin in the shortest possible time.”

Last week, Cabinet expressed concern over the mushrooming of briefcase companies involved in the tendering processes for Covid-19 supplies but the materials production subcommittee reported that the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) Act already gave a framework on how to legally exclude briefcase companies in the tendering process.

So the Ministry of Health and Child Care, and NatPham will be coming up with a tender framework, which ensures that only reputable and established companies participate.

Minister Mutsvangwa stressed that the pandemic should not be an avenue for anyone to enrich themselves at the expense of the nation.

Hand sanitisers are now readily available and all suppliers are local.

“This is a testimony to the effort being put in by our tertiary institutions and industry in meeting local demand.”

As announced by President Mnangagwa, low-risk sport is now allowed to take place. These sports include archery, swimming, athletics, rowing, cycling, equestrian events, fencing, golf, gymnastics, motor sports and BMX, shooting, tennis, chess, darts, draughts or pool. Venues at which low risk sports take place must open between 8am and 4.30pm. Spectators must not exceed 50 people at these venues. Persons competing and spectating are to submit themselves for screening and testing for Covid-19.

Returnees still had to be quarantined for 21 days, but if the second test on the eighth day was negative, a returnee could complete quarantine in self-isolation at home.

With a policy now in place to allow returnees with funds to pay for quarantine accommodation, medical, social welfare and law enforcement officials had inspected lodges, hotels and boarding houses and set up a system for private centres.

These would have to be licenced by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority. Applications were to be made to Ministry of Health and Child Care by the owners, and the premises then inspected by that ministry and the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality plus the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and the security services.

Zimbabwe continued to welcome its citizens and legal residents home, but the police are profiling returnees to identify those who may have pending cases.

“So far 116 ex-convicts have been profiled,” said the minister.

Some of the returnees are engaging in acts of violence against each other and on members of staff at quarantine centres and others had absconded from the mandatory quarantine, exposing those they made contact with to risk. Measures are being put in place to enforce the law to prevent transmission of Covid-19 from imported cases.

Government continued to get appeals from citizens in Dubai, Maputo, Kuwait, South Africa, and Namibia and the logistics subcommittee was assessing how many would be coming home and their transport requirements.

On local transport, the same logistics sub-committee was working with Zupco to increase its fleet to cope with the increasing number of workers now needing transport following the easing of lockdown regulations to Level 2.