Editorial

Protect pupils

WITH examination classes now running across the country, learning institutions must be replete with essential requirements such as face masks, hand sanitisers, soap, buckets and running water.
School head teachers and other members of staff must not only monitor adherence to health guidelines, but must also observe and implement such guidelines.
They should put preventive measures into practice as they stand as role models to pupils; they must be exemplary.
In fact, all lessons must start with sensitisation on Covid-19 so that correct information about the pandemic sinks deeper into the minds of pupils.
It will be ideal for teachers to dismiss misleading mysteries and distorted information about the pandemic, especially the contorted notion that Covid-19 only afflicts the affluent communities and regular travellers.
Covid-19 is real, fast-spreading, highly -infectious and the virus can affect anyone, anywhere!
Teachers must particularly emphasise the imperative need to practice social distancing, which has proved to be a challenge in many areas.
Perhaps, pupils must be tutored in such a way that they become ambassadors of Covid-19 awareness programmes.
If this is done, correct information will ultimately filtered into communities because the pupils will be able to get the awareness into the households.
Yes, Covid-19 is highly infectious, but the social and economic sectors ought to continue running, the reason why Government resolved that examination classes should resume.
Obviously, the process of re-opening critical institutions is being done gradually.
Depending on how the grades seven, nine and 12 will respond to guidelines, Government will decide whether to allow all the pupils back into schools or not.
Going by the “new normal” Government is likely to direct the full scale resumption of learning and hence parents must prepare adequately.
The resumption of classes will not only end at primary and secondary levels, but is likely to be extended to the tertiary institutions.
Implementing preventive measures will be much easier in colleges and universities because the elderly will be able to take the matters much more seriously.
The biggest hurdle though is the inadequate space in boarding facilities in some higher institutions of learning.
Therefore, the responsibility of ensuring high compliance levels should not rest on administrators in these institutions, but also on learners themselves.
However, statistics so far point to the act that Covid-19 is manageable in Zambia, going by the recovery rate thus far.
As of yesterday, 912 people have recovered from the cumulative cases of 1, 089 since the disease was detected in March, this year while active cases stand at 170.
Only seven people have died and most, if not all, had underlying conditions.
Comparatively, in the United States of America (US), the biggest economy on earth, 106, 241 people have died from Covid-19.
The US has recorded 1, 839, 119 cumulative cases, which are still racing up while only 599, 875 have recovered.
Zambia’s record, therefore, should inspire all citizens to remain compliant and remind defiant individuals to be more responsible.
The fight against Covid-19 is everyone’s responsibility more so because Government is gradually lifting restrictions to allow the social and economic sectors to continue running.
Yesterday, children started flocking to schools and this presents a litmus test for the country on how this global pandemic will unfold at this particular time.
Therefore, protect the pupils and all the children!

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