Examination classes went smoothly back to school yesterday with teachers and pupils following the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.
The three examination classes, Grade 7, Form 4 and Form 6, opened yesterday after President Mnangagwa and the health authorities cleared the schools reopening soon after the relaxation of the lockdown level.
The rest of the classes go back on Monday next week.
In Harare yesterday morning schools visited by The Herald had opened their education doors, and pupils were being checked for temperature and sanitising hands at the gate before admission. Everyone was wearing a facemask and no one was crowding.
At class entry points, there were buckets to wash hands before entering into classrooms.
Teachers were also in attendance and were wearing facemasks and observing social distancing.
Visits were made to both Government and private schools to sample how the reopening was working: Dzivarasekwa 1 High School, Warren Park High School, Maranatha High School, Herentals College and Cannonbury Junior School.
Whitney Grandy from Cannonbury Junior School in Greendale said they had made sure the required health measures are conducted before the child was admitted into the school premises.
Mr John Dhadhi, Herentals Group of Schools head city centre branch said they are making sure that all writing students are safe.
“Covid-19 is real and so we have to observe all safety protocols to do with Covid-19 preventative measures so that our stakeholders who include students and staff members are safe from this pandemic.
“We are very happy to be back to school after close to six months without consistency in learning, which has affected our learners adversely and we hope that we are going to do our best to catch up in terms of the syllabus material that is to be covered,” he said.
In Masvingo students in exam classes started learning yesterday with a high turnout at both primary and secondary schools amid compliance with Covid-19 regulations.
Victoria High and Junior Schools, Helen McGhie and Rujeko Primary schools in the city showed high turnout of teachers and students in the exam classes.
Victoria High acting headmaster Mr Alington Matsilele said three quarters of pupils reported for school on the first day and underwent lessons after teachers also overwhelmingly reported for duty. His is the central Government school in the city.
In Mashonaland West, opening of schools to examination class pupils proceeded well in all the seven districts.
Most boarding students reported on Sunday.
Pupils who spoke to The Herald said they were alerted over the risks and the measures needed through the media, and the daily routine of social distancing, face-masking and sanitising had also become a norm.
“Most students are aware of the virus and how to protect themselves. Every student is expected to have a facemask and we hope parents will help to monitor their children as they come to school to avoid complacency,” Junior Parliamentarian Takudzwa Mharapara said.
Mashonaland West provincial education director Mr Gabriel Mhumha said it was all systems go across the province and schools’ administrators were expected to monitor WHO compliance at schools.
All the schools were supplied infra-red scanning thermometers by Government to easily detect positive cases.
Mr Mhumha said his office had not received reports of any challenges facing schools except for some roads that were damaged by incessant rains disturbing movement of teachers and children returning to schools.
Parents in Chinhoyi were seen yesterday purchasing uniforms for their children who are also scheduled to return to school next Monday, and they were complaining about prices of uniforms and stationery.
“Prices of uniforms have since gone up and most shops’ Zimbabwe dollar rates are way above the official rate. We implore the Government to look into the issue,” a parent, Alfred Dengesera, said.
All schools in Mashonaland Central successfully opened for examination classes yesterday.
The Provincial Education Director, Mrs Naomi Chikosha, said teachers have reported for duty according to classes that have started school.
She added that all schools have adequately prepared for safe opening and they are adhering to Covid-19 regulations.
Matabeleland South Provincial Education Director Mr Lifias Masukume said schools had opened as planned and that they were yet to get any adverse reports from the seven administrative districts.
“All is going according to schedule and we are yet to get any adverse reports from the schools inspectors. We expect to get more comprehensive reports at a later stage. Most of the school inspectors are still hard at work on the ground as we speak.”