Covid-19 forces new class arrangements

Main Story Zimbabwe

Patience Nhamburo

Schools in Zimbabwe opened to all pupils on Monday, with hot-sitting and alternate learning days introduced at some institutions to curtail the spread of Covid-19.

Examination classes began a week earlier – nearly three months after escalating Covid-19 cases forced premature school closures.

Now, parents and authorities hope to get learning back on track while looking out for the safety of pupils.

In Harare, Borrowdale Primary School has halved classes, meaning half the school is in classrooms on Mondays and Tuesdays, with the remainder learning online.

The two groups then swop from Wednesday to Friday.

The school’s first Early Childhood Development class runs from 7:30am to 10am and the second 10:30am to 1:30pm.

The template is pretty much what a number of other Government schools have adopted to manage the threat of Covid-19.

Borrowdale Primary School Head Charles Chisekochevana told ZTN: “The term has started off very well and it is all because of the preparations that we made in terms of cleaning, provision of sanitisers and washing basins.

“Overally, we are following the standard operating procedures outlined by (the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education). Our children have now adapted and understand the (rationale) behind social-distancing and sanitisation. 

“In terms of social-distancing; each class is now using two classrooms so that we maintain the distance. We have infants who we have now put on staggered learning.”

Educational psychologist Kwadzanai Nyanungo said pupils learn better in natural environments.

“Learners enjoy social interactions with their peers and their teachers in a natural environment where they can interface in person because the school experience goes beyond the formal curriculum.

“As learning is a social event, there are obvious advantages to personal interactions in real time. Home-schooling has its advantages for some learners for certain things. For other learners, it’s the only option that is and has been available for some time.”