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Schools strict on Covid-19 prevention

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By Mathews Kasanda, Feston Malekezo & Jameson Chauluka:

Schools reopened Monday across the country with Covid-19 prevention measures visibly prevalent for use by both teachers and learners who had been out of the classrooms for about six months.

Government primary and secondary schools which have been reopened to examination classes only—Standard Eight and Form Four respectively— have been supplied with protective materials such as chlorine and hand-washing facilities while private schools are responsible for their own preventive materials.

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Other measures such as wearing of masks and observing social distance are also being followed as witnessed at several schools in the Northern, Central and Southern regions.

Head teacher for Mchesi Primary School in Lilongwe Patrick Siliya said the classrooms have also been disinfected so that they are safe for both learners and their teachers.

At Tsabango Community Day Secondary School, Deputy Head teacher, Nephan Dzama, however, said the school is yet to get all the equipment to use in preventing coronavirus.

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“We don’t have enough buckets because as we are reopening we don’t have enough resources in the form of funds. We are waiting for the contributions from students so that we can buy extra buckets,” Dzama said.

Director of Charismatic Private Schools, Joseph Patel, who is also President of Independent Schools of Malawi, assured parents and the government that his school is ready to comply with the Covid-19 preventive measures.

At Mzuzu CCAP Primary School, until 9 in the morning, officials there were still setting up desks for classes to commence for the 64 learners who are expected to sit for their Primary School Leaving Certification of Education examinations.

The school’s Head teacher, Callista Phiri, said as a Covid-19 precautionary measure, no learner would be permitted into a classroom without putting on a face mask and that washing hands before entering a classroom is mandatory.

Phiri, however, was not sure who would be providing chlorine and fumigation services when need arises in compliance with the National Disinfection Guidelines.

At Katoto Secondary School, 290 students are expected to sit for Malawi School Certificate of Education Examinations.

Authorities at the institution said on the first day a few students turned up but the arrangement would be to use as many classrooms as possible to adhere to social distancing as a precautionary measure against Covid-19.

In Blantyre, we visited a number of schools including Ndirande Hill Secondary, Ndirande View Secondary and Namalimwe Primary where we spotted hand-washing facilities which were being used by both learners and teachers.

Chairperson of Management Committee of Namalimwe Primary School Kyton Namate said he was happy that the schools have reopened, saying the break was affecting the intellectual development of the children.

Education institutions were closed on March 23, 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the reopening is initially for examination classes in primary and secondary schools and final-year students in colleges and universities.

The schools are expected to fully reopen mid next month.

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