Ministry of Education riled with confusion over Covid-19 preventive measures in schools

The Ministry of Education has expressed disappointment with some schools, which have sent learners to their homes on the pretext that the government had ordered closure of schools due to a surge in Covid-19 cases.

The Ministry’s Principal Secretary (PS), Chikondano Mussa, has clarified in a statement issued today that the government has not released any information regarding closure of schools due to the pandemic.

PS Education Chikondano Mussa making a point during the briefing -Pic by Roy Nkosi

“As advised by the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19, all education institutions remain open. However, all institutions are advised to strictly adhere to all preventive measures and always make reference to Schools, Colleges, Universities’ Guidelines on Covid-19 released by the Ministry in September 2020,” says Mussa in the statement.

The ministry has prescribed a number of measures for Community Day Secondary Schools, including disinfection, screening, contact tracing and quarantine of contacts if confirmed case at a learning institution.

The schools have also been advised to close affected learning institution with a cluster of cases for 14 and that the learning institution has to be disinfected.

“Schools are further advised to screen for all learners/students upon reopening of the learning institutions; screening applies to all personnel working in the learning institutions; and facilitate referral of suspected cases to nearest health care,” says Mussa.

In the boarding schools, the ministry says all students that test positive have to be detained in school but will not attend classes for 14 days in order to assess the situation while students presenting signs and symptoms, but tested negative will be left in their own block.

The ministry has further recommended disinfection of all classrooms, hostels and any other facilities to be done within 24 hours.

“[There should be] routine screening of students by health personnel; and no visitation days for boarding learning institutions. The Ministry is calling on all education administrators to adhere to this guidance. The general public is advised to report to the Ministry any learning institution behaving contrary to the above guidelines,” emphasizes Mussa.

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