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Covid plan for affected learners

Government has assured parents that learners who are in isolation after contracting Covid-19 are actively being engaged in lessons to ensure they do not lose learning time.

At the beginning of this term, all learning institutions set up temporary holding and sick bays in anticipation of any positive cases and these have come in handy as schools started reporting cases during the first week of schools opening.

By last Thursday, about 450 learners had tested positive to the disease, with the majority of these still in isolation in their schools’ sick bays as outbreaks continue to be recorded in various institutions.

Thirty learners have recovered while 430 are still in isolation raising concern from parents on how much learning time their children would lose while in isolation, particularly those in exam classes.

Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education director of communication and advocacy Mr Taungana Ndoro said the Government had taken measures to ensure that no child continues to lose any more learning time due to Covid-19.

“All learners have not stopped attending lessons, even those who are in isolation. We have a system where the teachers in full protective gear go to sick bays to conduct lessons with the learners.

“Remember this is not the first time we have had outbreaks in schools, we had children who wrote their examinations from isolation centres last year so we have employed the same strategy so that our learners do not continue losing any more time,” he said.

The Ministry last week said public examinations would commence at the end of November for Grade Seven candidates, while Ordinary and Advanced Level learners would start writing in mid-December overlapping into 2022.

This has put schools under pressure to ensure that pupils get as much learning time as possible to be ready in time for examinations.

However, with outbreaks in learning institutions making up the bulk of the country’s new infection numbers, the Government has stepped up efforts to strengthen health protocols in schools to manage the pandemic.

Mr Ndoro said the Ministry had engaged leaders to raise awareness on Covid-19 in surrounding communities.

“We have robust systems in our schools and this has enabled us to be able to detect cases early and manage them.

“We are also trying to engage with the communities through traditional, political and religious leaders but it is difficult to implement the same measures we have in our schools.

“To safeguard against an increasing number of cases, we have separated our day learners from the boarders so that we can better manage their interaction. We are not discriminating, but this is a way of mitigating against more infections,” he added.

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