Parents, students relieved as schools reopen in Zimbabwe

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by Tafara Mugwara

HARARE, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) — It was a hive of activity on Monday in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, as students went back to schools following their closure four months ago as the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic swept through the country.

Schools in the southern African country have been closed since early June as stern measures were adopted by the government to curb the spread of COVID-19.

As cases have lately started to dip, the government last month ordered schools to open, with the examination classes opening last week, while the rest of the classes opening Monday.

Fourteen-year-old Clare Mamvura was glad to be back to school after a four-month hiatus.

She said being in school would enable her to focus on her studies more since online lessons are not ideal for learning.

“Some of the challenges that we faced at home when we were doing online lessons are that when you are wrong, when you give a wrong answer, when you are at home, you don’t understand when the teacher explains to you most of the time, because they will explain once and they won’t explain again.

“So I think that helps us more when we are at school so that we can spend more time with our teachers and get to know where we are wrong better,” she said.

Now that schools are open, she expects her grades to improve remarkably.

“My aim is for my grades to go up because last term we weren’t learning as much and during the online lessons we weren’t interacting as much with our teachers, so I aim for my grades to go higher so that I may focus more on my grades,” she said.

Monalisa Chuma, another 14-year-old girl, said going back to school will enable pupils to focus on their studies and shun away from social vices such as child pregnancies and drug addiction.

“I am very excited to go back to school because I know when you are at school you can aim high, and you can get more time to study and you will have no time to play,” she said.

Parents who were dropping their children heaved a sigh of relief as their children will no longer have to depend on online classes.

Joyce Mandikutse said authorities made the right decision to reopen schools, adding that the pandemic has negatively impacted children’s studies.

“So we are saying if it’s possible, the school term should run until December for them to study to compensate for the lost time,” she said.

Israel Hundi was relieved to have managed to send his child back to school despite a tough economic environment.

“As a parent who has managed to send his child to school given the tough economic environment amidst the pandemic, I am very happy because I have made efforts to make sure that I provide all that is expected for a child going to school,” he said.

In a bid to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in schools, the government announced that teachers will be required to be vaccinated. The number of students in classrooms will also be capped to ensure that social distancing measures are implemented.

In addition, Zimbabwe last month opened its vaccination drive to 14-year-olds and above, making Zimbabwe one of the first countries in Africa to extend vaccinations to teenagers.

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