At least 12 schools in Zimbabwe have recorded Covid-19 cases since the start of the first term on March 15.
Sacred Heart Secondary and Primary boarding schools in Matabeleland South are the latest to record Covid-19 cases, with 233 learners and teachers infected.
The patients are in quarantine.
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Director of Communications and Advocacy Taungana Ndoro, said the cases were isolated and do not reflect the overall situation in schools countrywide.
“There are just a few schools and in those ones we have our standard operating procedures being upheld and adhered to strictly including protocols of the World Health Organisation,” he said.
While some want schools to close due to the latest Covid-19 cases, Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) Chief Executive Officer Dr Sifiso Ndlovu believes infection can be contained if early diagnosis is done.
“The schools that have been identified are indicating that we definitely are on course in terms of applying those procedures. What is now left is how do we prevent this from affecting the generality of the school children,” he said.
Dr Ndlovu’s counterpart Dr Takavafira Zhou of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) said teachers and pupils should have been tested before schools opened.
“We have always highlighted that there is a need for testing in schools before teachers, pupils and ancillary staff can congregate.”
Health expert Dr Francis Chirowa said sporting activities may be driving the latest Covid-19 infections among learners and teachers.
“Some of these (schools) engage in sporting activities and those can be risky because people tend to crowd and spread the disease.
“The schools need to have a screening programme in place If they are going to have sports programmes,” he said.
Schools in Zimbabwe re-opened in a phased manner last month. Examination classes opened on the 15th of March while non-examination classes resumed lessons a week later. This followed the easing of the Covid-19 lockdown measures by the Government.