By Primary and Secondary Minister Mathema
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education would like to advise its valued stakeholders that it is intensifying adherence to the Standard Operating Procedures against COVID-19 and other Influenza-like Illnesses in all schools.
The Ministry hereby, requests the enhanced contribution of responsible authorities, teachers, learners, School Development Committees, parents/guardians, members of communities around schools and all stakeholders towards enhanced prevention of the spread of COVID-19.
As the 2021 winter season is approaching, the success of the preventive measures against the spread of COVID-19 among learners depends heavily on the leadership of each school head as well as the cooperation among teachers, learners, their parents/guardians and communities at large.
Within the context of the national COVID-19 response, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, have put in place a systematic disease surveillance procedure which requires daily screening of all learners and staff during the school term.
This surveillance and monitoring system has been a success as many cases of COVID-19, that would otherwise go undetected, have been identified and managed through the school system.
Our schools have become a necessary barometer for detection and management of COVID-19 nationwide.
As guided by Standard Operating Procedures against COVID19, every school is linked to a local health facility, through which any learner or member of staff who shows any possible COVID-19 symptoms is immediately referred to the Ministry of Health and Child Care’s Rapid Response Team.
Furthermore, coordinated prevention and management of COVID-19 at all learning institutions in Zimbabwe have been developed and disseminated to all schools, and are supported by ongoing training activities.
The full effectiveness of these measures can only be realised through complementary health promotion efforts within families of teachers and learners and within the communities in which schools reside.
The recommended hygiene protocols should be enforced both at home and in the school.
The Ministry is calling upon all heads of schools to guard against complacency and ensure FULL compliance with health protocols as directed through the Standard Operating Procedures.
All schools should strongly reinforce the following health promoting behaviours among learners and staff-:
• Consistent daily temperature checks
• Ensuring that the thermometers used for screening learners are in good working order at all times, with replacement batteries in stock
• Consistent and proper wearing of clean masks
• Consistent physical and social distancing
• Regular and correct handwashing
• No overcrowding at entry points, in classrooms, during break-time, in dining halls and in boarding hostels, and common rooms including libraries
• No hugging, hand holding or touching
• Correct mouth, nose and eye hygiene
• Good toilet hygiene
• Safe handling of all body fluids
• No sharing of items without proper sanitizing of hand-held objects
• Safe, clean schools with regular disinfection of commonly touched surfaces
• Proper waste disposal The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education wishes to remind all stakeholders that COVID19 is a Public Health Emergency and drastic measures will be taken on acts of negligence such as failure to disclose possible risk; noncompliance with Government directives and recommendations in the management of COVID-19 outbreak at any school and neglect or incompetent performance of duty that exposes learners and staff to the risk of COVID-19 infection.
The country is facing an unprecedented challenge.
The national response requires decisive action from all citizens; decisive action that will contribute to the defeat of the COVID19 pandemic.
Together, let us strengthen the safety of all learners, teachers and staff in our schools.