Rural schools exam classes, teachers get PPEs to combat Covid-19

By John Mrwira/ James Muonwa

ln a bid to ensure the safety of pupils and teachers of examination classes that are scheduled to reopen 28 September, a private company is rolling out a Covid-19 education awareness campaign as well as donating personal protective equipment (PPEs) to marginalised rural schools.
Odzi Foods Industries has embarked on a pilot project in Makonde district aimed at complementing government efforts to ensure both learners and teachers will be safe when exam classes resume. 
Final year pupils reopen 28 September in preparation for Grade Seven, Ordinary and Advanced Levels Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) exams pencilled for December.
Education stakeholders have expressed reservations over the level of preparedness of schools, particularly those in rural areas, to implement World Health Organisation (WHO) safety, prevention and containment protocols.
Odzi Foods Industries chief executive officer, David Jazire said his company had noted concerns raised over the lack of preparedness by rural schools to restart classes in the wake of the deadly viral disease.
"Through this campaign, we hope to impart Covid-19 awareness messaging and distribute PPEs to rural communities across the country. We have done our pilot project in Makonde district which was overwhelmingly successful," said Jazire.
Come opening day, pupils and teachers will be confident of their safety in highly responsive environments, he said.
Jazire urged parents and guardians to continue educating pupils about the dangers of Covid-19 and monitor their movements.
"Parents must continuously educate their children who are going back to schools where they will meet with their classmates that Covid-19 is real. 
"They must observe all safety measures, which include social distancing, wearing masks correctly and hand sanitising. These remain key alongside all other preventive measures to curb the spread of Covid-19," Jazire said.
The company, through its project co-funding partners German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, has contributed immensely to closing the information gap through dissemination of Covid-19 response mechanisms messaging in rural settings. 
The project also involves training of teachers, nurses and community health workers, who further cascade Covid-19 response information to the rural populace, thus bridging the void left by mainstream media.
Odzi Foods Industries has so far donated face masks and sanitisers to more than 170 schools, and distributed training material for  learners, teachers, health workers and the general public across Makonde district.
The project will soon be extended to other districts across the country.
(Picture: Odzi Foods Industries CEO, David Jazire)-LOCAL NEWS

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