By NQOBANI NDLOVU
BULAWAYO City Council has spent over a half a million dollars procuring equipment such as infra-red thermometers to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at its schools ahead of the return of thousands of learners to class.
Only examination classes have opened under the government’s phased approach in the reopening of schools.
The government has indicated that 2020 examinations will go ahead starting in November and spilling into December.
The latest council report of the health, housing and education department shows that council has spent over $500 000 in its Covid-19 response ahead of the mass return of learners at its schools.
“Council had spent above $500 000 in procuring sanitisers and infra-red thermometers for its schools with more than half the schools already having received the ordered materials and the remainder is expected to be delivered within the next two weeks,” the report reads.
“The department, in addition to these purchases, granted the school heads authority to utilise the third term sports and textbook levy remittances amounting to $457 686 towards purchases of the required Covid-19 materials.”
Each class is expected to accommodate not more than 20 learners while parents and guardians have also been engaged to assist financially or otherwise with Covid-19 material procurement.
In terms of water provision in the face of water challenges facing the city, at council schools boreholes are being rehabilitated by various donors through the engineering services department.
The Primary and Secondary Education ministry provided schools with standard operating guidelines based on World Health Organisation recommendations for operations in the Covid-19 environment.
“The schools were continuing with the procurement in liaison and with coordination from the parent ministry so as to avoid duplication of activities,” added the report.
“Some schools also received donations from World Vision to complement the efforts of the parents and council.
“Marking for social distancing is in progress in most schools.”
According to the government’s phased approach on schools reopening, all learners are expected to be back in class by November 9.