Health and safety measures against infection by Covid-19 must be in place at all June examination centres by June 26 in line with the prescribed standards of the World Health Organisation, the High Court has ruled in an order issued by consent of both the Government and eight teachers unions.
The pledge by Government to fulfill the exam conditions sought by the teachers’ unions means the urgent chamber application brought by the unions became an uncontested matter, thus prompting the High Court to grant the order sought.
The unions wanted the court to compel the Government to postpone the sitting of June examinations until all examination centres meet WHO Covid-19 prescribed standards, but the Government in response said it would meet those standards by June 26.
The public examinations are scheduled to start on June 30, but teachers’ unions were arguing that they were not ready to go back to school until a well-informed analysis of the impact of Covid-19 has been done and all health and safety measures are in place.
When the parties appeared before Justice Jesta Charewa, sitting in her chambers, on Wednesday they thrashed out the contentious issues leading to the judge granting the consent order.
It was agreed that by June 26 2020 Government should ensure that schools are fumigated, and the cleaning and disinfecting carried out within specified and agreed timelines.
Government would provide necessary temperature scanners for teachers and learners, ensure testing and adequate sanitisation, as well as making sure that all necessary steps to meet the Covid-19, WHO guidelines.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association secretary-general Mr Tapson Nganunu in a statement yesterday said that the Government’s response to the union’s application was based on the premise that Government would ensure that learners and teachers who will take part in the June 2020 examinations will be protected against Covid-19.
This, he said would be by taking precautions such as provision of Zupco transport for teachers and learners where necessary. The State would also ensure the provisions of face masks, sanitisers and thermometers at all examination centres as well as the disinfection of centres that were used as Covid-19 quarantine centres.
“With this order in place it is needless to emphasize that all members should monitor the progress and report to the unions any failure to comply,” said Mr Nganunu.