A firebrand Zimbabwean teachers union is threatening to pull out its members from school by March 20 should schools not be closed forthwith.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
The Rural Teachers Union calls for the closure of schools with immediate effect as the country prays to be spared by the menacing Coronavirus Disease.
“Almost all schools have a population of more than 100 people who spend the day together. Therefore in the wake of this pandemic, ARTUZ wishes to advice the ministry to immediately close all government schools on the 20th of March 2020, failure to that ARTUZ will not hesitate to withdraw its members from schools,” said the Union’s secretary general Mr Robson Chere.
ARTUZ arrived at this decision following the declaration of the COVID-19 as a National Disaster by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“The matter above refers to the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union Of Zimbabwe, ARTUZ a public service association representing the interest Of teachers.
After consultations with our members concerning the dangers being posed by the pandemic Corona virus in our schools and having considered the following.
1. The President of the Republic of Zimbabwe has already issued a statement banning all public gathering of people more than 100
2. There are no serious measures that have been put in place for every school to prepare for the prevention of the spread of Covid-19
3. Most schools in rural areas have no running water at all for teachers and for people to simply wash their hands,” said Mr Chere.
With the President saying schools are to be closed in the next two weeks,Mr Chere added that Schools do not usually set end of term examinations this first term and as such they are already winding down since we are only 2 weeks before school close.
“Parents for our pupils are already coming back home from abroad for the Easter holiday, it has to be noted that some of our parents are coming from countries that are hard hit by the Corona pandemic which leaves us in an exposed situation.
6. Almost all schools have a population of more than 100 people who spend the day together. Therefore in the wake of this pandemic, ARTUZ wishes to advice the ministry to immediately close all government schools on the 20th of March 2020, failure to that ARTU2 will not hesitate to withdraw its members from schools.
Further to that, we request for an Education Sector Indaba to further dialogue on strategies that we might take so as to upscale our preparedness in the face of Corona virus,” he said.