By A Correspondent- Over 100 learners from two boarding secondary schools, Chegato and Masese, in Mberengwa District have been hit by Covid-19 leading to the suspension of lessons.
Confirmed Covid-19 cases at Chegato are 63 out of 150 PCR tests done while Masase had 40 positive cases from 469 tests.
Day scholars that tested Covid-19 positive as well as children of staff members have been quarantined in dormitories at the schools that have been converted into isolation and treatment centres.
Lessons for day scholars have also been suspended until the situation is under control.
Mberengwa District Development Coordinator (DCC) Mr Ndeya Nyede said a team had been dispatched to the two schools to conduct more tests.
“There were 63 positive Covid-19 cases at Chegato High School out of 150 tests conducted on teachers and learners at the school.
“At Masase High there were 469 Covid-19 tests and 40 confirmed positive cases. Testing is ongoing, meaning lessons have been temporarily shelved,” said Mr Nyede.
“I was at Masase High School and found them still testing. Efforts have been intensified to mitigate against the spread of the virus,” he said.
He said Government is working on modalities to beef up frontline health workers in the area to attend to the schools and surrounding communities.
“It’s a sad development, but the District Civil Protection Unit has been activated. Frontline health workers are on the ground with more testing kits delivered from Gweru Provincial Hospital yesterday. Testing will continue for the remainder of the students.
“We are planning to beef up our intervention with an additional mobile vaccination team to assist surrounding communities.
“As of yesterday, an additional seven cases were identified, which brings the total to 70 (at Chegato),” said Mr Nyede.
Midlands Provincial Education Director Mr Jameson Machimbira said the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and other stakeholders are on the ground working on ways to mitigate against the spread of the outbreak.
“As the Ministry, we are still monitoring the situation to ensure that lessons commence soon,” said Mr Machimbira.
There are reports that most students above the age of 18 and staff members at the two schools are not vaccinated, raising fears of more positive cases being recorded.
Government has since barred all unvaccinated civil servants from reporting for duty.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa announced the decision in a post-Cabinet media briefing in Harare on Tuesday.
“Pursuant to the previous announcement that all civil servants should be vaccinated, Cabinet further resolved that no unvaccinated civil servants will be allowed to come to work,” Minister Mutsvangwa said.
Since the opening of schools, learning institutions have not been demanding vaccination certificates from teachers.
Minister Mutsvangwa said a total of 132 Covid-19 cases had been reported in schools since schools opened for examination classes on August 30 and September 6 for the rest of the learners.