Almost all schools opened successfully yesterday, but a handful were facing problems, mainly waiting for thermometers expected today and in the odd area of absent teachers.
In Masvingo, schools reopened with hundreds of examination pupils resuming classes amid tight monitoring by school authorities to make sure they complied with Covid-19 precautionary measures.
Both boarding and day schools in and around Masvingo were a hive of activity with teachers and learners being briefed about Covid-19 precautions while thorough screening was done at all points of entry.
Most school authorities who spoke to The Herald yesterday said they had fumigated classrooms and hostels.
At Mucheke High School in the city learners underwent screening to check their body temperature before being sanitised, while Grade 7 pupils at Victoria Junior Primary School also successfully attended the first day of classes in trimmed classes to promote social distancing.
At Victoria High School, head Mr Engelbert Chimbwari said all the 255 Ordinary and Advanced Level pupils who resumed classes yesterday were subjected to thorough screening.
The school had sufficient stocks of sanitisers and fumigation chemicals to cater for the number of students who resumed classes.
“We have 165 O’ Level students and 90 who are sitting for the final A’ Level exams this year and they all resumed classes today and we are happy that in terms of meeting the Covid-19 precautionary measures,” said Mr Chimbwari.
“We also have four thermometers for screening purposes and we are very satisfied with the obtaining situation right now with regards to preventing Covid-19.”
In Mutare, schools reopened for this year’s examination classes and at Mutare Junior parents started dropping off their children as early as 6.30am and the pupils were organised as they waited for screening.
According to school authorities, all the Grade Seven classes had been split to encourage social distancing.
Hand washing points were easily accessible at all schools as members of staff were monitoring.
The Herald also visited First Class Academy, Chancellor Primary School and St Dominics High School where everything was in place.
First Class Academy director Mr Stephen Musongodza said everything was going according to plan and they had not encountered any challenges.
“We have split some of our Form Four and six classes that were big to accommodate 30 students per room. We have a team on standby to sanitise our classrooms, offices as well as the ablution facilities every day. Today they already sanitised the toilets during break time and they will do it again after the learners have gone home,” he said.
In the Midlands, over 90 percent of pupils and teachers turned up with classes resuming smoothly, the acting provincial education director, Mr Jameson Machimbira said.
A visit to some schools around Gweru also revealed that the authorities were practising recommended Covid-19 health measures, mounting buckets of water to wash hands at gates with security officers checking temperatures of teachers and pupils entering.
Some schools which include Ascot High, Chikumbiro Primary and Stanley had no thermometers, but had sanitisers.
The schools also practiced social distancing with Mambo High, which has big number of candidates, having had to create more classes in order to maintain social distancing.
“We started smoothly and we have an over 90 percent turn up from our pupils as well as the teachers. Our officers have been visiting schools doing inspections to make sure that the recommended health guidelines are being followed and everything was okay. We did not get any negative reports so we hope everything will remain okay as we continue going forward with our lessons,” he said
In Beitbridge, most schools have put in place all the necessary measures to ensure the safety of pupils.
At most schools in Beitbridge urban, authorities have procured temperature guns, hand-washing buckets, masks and have created more classes to accommodate all those writing their exams. Fumigating of classrooms was also done prior and everyone entering the school was screened.
At Vhembe High School in Ward 5, two-thirds of those writing examinations turned up at the school and three teachers. The school authorities have also staggered the breaks and lunchtime in line with the social distancing principle.
Teachers at Dulivhadzimu Primary School are enforcing the Covid-19 regulations where nine classes have been created to accommodate the 186 pupils who will sit for Grade Seven examinations.
In addition, all the children are being given new masks and are supervised by a teacher during break time.
The situation was the same at other schools, Beitbridge Mission Primary, Beitbridge Government, St Joseph Primary, St Marys High schools.
However, the issue of wearing of masks and social distancing remains a challenge with most pupils were seen removing face masks as soon as they left schoolyards.
In terms of water and sanitation, most schools now have their own boreholes.
In Mashonaland West, most schools managed to open while a few that did not have thermometers deferred opening to today.
Provincial education director, Mr Gabriel Mhumha said the province had now received the thermometers which have become a prerequisite for schools to open.
He also said all teachers managed to report for duty.
In Kariba, there was a low turnout of both pupils and teachers with some schools turning away learners for various reasons including unavailability of teachers and water.
At some schools such as Nyanhewe and Nyamhunga primary schools, teacher turnout was low while there was only one teacher in attendance at Heights Primary School.
Authorities at Nyanhewe Primary said they deferred opening of the school owing to unavailability of sanitisers, infra red thermometers and personal protective equipment.
Learners were, however, in class at Mahombekombe Primary School with about half of the school’s teachers in attendance.