Capacitate Schools To Combat COVID-19: ARTUZ

Ronald Chigwada

Parent and teacher associations say the move to keep schools open should be backed with capacitating schools to adhere to standard operating procedures as many institutions are struggling to provide the cheapest personal protective equipment to fight COVID-19.

In an interview with the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) leader Obert Masaraure told Community Radio Harare (CORAH) that the union continues to receive more reports of COVID-19 outbreaks in schools across the country citing the lack of protective clothing amongst other things needed to combat the virus.

ARTUZ President Obert Masaraure

“The move to keep schools open should be backed with capacitating schools to adhere to standard operating procedures. In the face of a lack of resources in schools, the move becomes reckless. Teachers have a right to walk away from the schools if they are posing unmitigated risks to their lives. Some of our members at a school in Mashonaland East have deserted the school after a reported outbreak,” said Masaraure.

Days after the government announced that schools will remain open, ARTUZ tweeted on the 24th of September 2021, “Our monitors have produced September 2021 monitoring report. Adherence to SOPs is very low. From sampled schools, Manicaland has the lowest adherence of 27% and Harare has the highest at 45%. All schools are not safe and are potential COVID-19 Hotspot. @MoPSEZim should find solutions”.

Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou also noted the rise of positive COVID-19 cases in schools and pointed fingers at the government blaming it for creating a health mess in ordering the opening of schools without clear-cut plans and resources to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Truth rather than a façade of lies peddled by Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education officials must be the guiding principle,” said Zhou.

“There are more than 50 other schools across the country where cases between 1 and 40 have been reported and where testing is an ongoing process. But the testing process is hindered by a critical shortage of test kits,” said Zhou.

In Mberengwa Chegato High School recorded 59 positive cases whilst Masase High School recorded 40, Tongwe High in Beitbridge had 82 cases and Gutu High in Masvingo had 52 positive cases since schools fully opened on the 6th of September.

Meanwhile in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 ARTUZ has embarked on a mission to educate people on the importance of getting vaccinated. Obert Masaraure explained that the organisation was embarking on what they call ‘eduprotest’, “As we protest against mandatory Vax we educate people to choose voluntary Vax. Call it an Eduprotest on 8 October,”

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