Zimbabwe: Varsities to Resume Face-to-Face Learning

Mabelreign Girls High School pupils (file photo).
19 March 2021

Bulawayo Bureau

UNIVERSITIES are set to resume face-to-face learning and examinations from next week in a phased approach, adhering to Covid-19 prevention regulations.

Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira said universities have the green light to start lessons physically as long as they do four basic things to prevent the spread of the virus.

He said the institutions should ensure that there is social distancing, sanitising, wearing face of masks and regular temperature checks.

"Universities are to open for face-to-face learning under World Health Organisation (Who) guidelines and should open in a phased approach for social distancing purposes. We are not going to compromise the safety of our students. Universities should ensure they put systems in place that guarantee a safe environment for students," said Prof Murwira.

Universities, he said, would open according to their ability and capacity.

National University of Science and Technology (Nust) and Lupane State University (LSU) are set to resume face-to-face lectures and examinations on Monday.

NUST director for communication and marketing Mr Thabani Mpofu said face-to-face learning and examination will resume on Monday in a phased approach.

"The university will resume face-to-face learning and examinations in a phased manner from the 22nd of March 2021. Students have been grouped into four distinct groups to allow for social distancing during lectures and examinations. The examinations will be staggered and will start on the 29th of March 2021 and end on the 21st of May 2021.

"There will be temperature checking at all points of entry to the University and lecture rooms, hand sanitising, wearing of face mask at all times and enforcement of social distancing," said Mr Mpofu.

LSU marketing and communication director Mr Zwelithini Dlamini said face-to-face lectures will resume on Monday with strict adherence to Covid-19 prevention measures including checking of temperature at entrance, sanitisation of hands, social distancing and wearing of masks.

Mr Dlamini said students are expected to buy their own face masks.

"We will be following the Covid-19 prevention protocols. We will be doing screening, temperature checks and sanitisation.

"We will also ensure social distancing in the lecture rooms and also in the hostels where each room will accommodate only two students to avoid congestion," said Mr Dlamini.

He said lecture rooms were fumigated and will be continuously disinfected during the course of the semester.

President Mnangagwa eased Covid-19 lockdown measures two weeks ago after the rate of new infections began to decline.

Under the relaxed lockdown regulations, gatherings at funerals are still restricted to 30 people with other public gatherings not supposed to exceed 50 people.

The President said schools, universities and colleges must also prepare to reopen and ensure that measures which observe World Health Organisation (WHO) protocols and national Covid-19 guidelines are adhered to.

Schools have adopted standard operating procedures to safeguard learners.

Wearing of face masks and hand hygiene must be upheld as has been the case since Covid-19 was first reported in the country in March last year.

Temperature checks have become the way of life too so there is no reason for relaxation even in schools.

If any cases are reported, authorities have to move swiftly to deal with them before they spread through schools.

There must be regularly and thorough washing of hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

To ensure people who get infected do not suffer severe symptoms, the Government has started a vaccination programme targeting frontline workers first, which is expected to cascade to other parts of society.

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