covid 19 tests in schools

In a shocking development, 10 students from Matopo High School in Matebeleland South have tested positive for CoVid-19. 

The school has been sealed off to try and contain the virus.

This development comes barely a week after 100 students and teachers tested positive for the virus at John Tallach school in Mat North. The cases at the school have since risen to 184, officials said on Monday.

According to Matabeleland South Provincial Medical Director Dr Rudo Chikodzore, the positive tests at Matopo were only detected after the rapid response team responded to reports of pupils with higher than normal temperatures.

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Obey Chaputsira, who heads the Matobo district taskforce committee on Covid-19, said health workers have so far been deployed to begin a process of testing everyone at the school so as to ascertain the number of students or teachers that have been affected by Covid-19. 

Teachers’ unions have warned the crisis, which already threatens the smooth running of final examinations for Grade 7, Form 4 and Upper Sixth, will only get worse.

“Our schools have failed to meet the bare minimum levels of safety in the face of Covid-19,” the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The government prepared standard operating procedures that can’t be adhered to because of underfunding. The Z$600 million for safe schools opening remains unaccounted for. Teachers and learners must stay home to avoid mass infections.”

Raymond Majongwe, the secretary-general of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) warned:

“No testing happened when schools reopened. Several teachers and learners were coming from neighbouring countries. No PPEs and other requirements were provided for both teachers and learners. Trouble is coming.”

The government maintains that the situation remains “under control” countrywide, and is determined that exams proceed as planned next month.

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