I am a mother to two grade 12s. I would like to appeal on the recent announcement to open exam classes in June.
The Minister of Health announced yesterday that Zambia will experience a surge in COVID-19 cases and we have not even reached the peak yet. With this in mind , we would like to appeal to the President, to rescind this decision until further notice for the following reasons :
1. We are worried that in the surge that will continue to occur , opening schools now will only increase contamination; the movement of children and teachers will increase contamination;
2. Children in boarding schools will definitely be a challenge to handle as they have learners from all over Zambia and also have day scholars and commuting teachers , not to mention sharing the ablutions , desks and chairs , cutlery in the dining halls etc . Just imagine the level of contamination that will happen;
please let us not experiment on our children
3. In the case of one child or teacher being found COVID-19 positive , will the entire school shut down and all pupils and teachers quarantined ?
4. In my case, one son is in boarding in on the Copperbelt , if for instance , one pupil or teacher has COVID 19, will everyone in school be shipped off to the isolation Centre and me as a mother continue safe-keeping myself in Lusaka while my son and entire school are in quarantine in another province? As it is now , none of the parents I know are willing to allow their children to go back to school in June , which is even the coldest month of the year, meaning more respiratory illnesses ;
5. What would be wrong with examining pupils with what the syllabus has covered thus far. Education is not limited in itself. This can be done when they NEED to open after the peak of the corona virus in Zambia . At this point I do not even mind my children repeating a grade if it will save their lives.
6. The need to reopen is in itself a necessity but then the risk to health on learners and teachers far out weighs the need to reopen schools.
7. Will anyone penalise Zambia if our exam body set exams for content covered to date and allow for revision for the rest of the period? Further, the calendar can even be adjusted to have them write exams later;
8. The cost and impact of one case in a school can be terrible. The new normal can only be embraced if there were at least measures like in HIV: we have ARVS; Malaria : we have malaria medicine and TB: we have TB medicine . All these illnesses can be managed because they have medicines but please let us not experiment on our children .
We beg you to rescind this decision .