News that schools might be opening its doors soon is not only heartwarming, but an incredible relief to parents, activists and more importantly, the students themselves as the period they have been out as well as the uncertainty that has surrounded it threatened their basic right to education.
State President Lazarus Chakwera, in his weekly address to the nation said on Saturday that schools that meet set safety standards will stand a chance to be given a permission to open in the first week of September. Chakwera’s statement has long been what most students wanted to hear and it came riding on the reassured belief of the background work that presidential taskforce on Covid-19 is doing in ensuring that amidst the pandemic, life must continue, safely.
“For instance, in education cluster of the taskforce, guidelines have already been developed on what schools need to do to reopen safely”, said the president when addressing the issue. Listening to the president speaking on the matter in his usual tone of utmost calmness and precision, it is clear that the cries from the education activists who have, using various communication platforms, spoke of the need to consider hasten all the decisions surrounding the opening of the schools, were indeed reaching him and listened he indeed did.
Meanwhile, some quarters of the society still feels it is not safe out there for the schools to reopen as Covid-19 is still lurking in our midst. The argument to this still revolves around the fact that since the closure of the schools in April this year, no school going child has gotten sick or die from the virus and that if the schools were to open, there are no well defined measures that have been employed to ensure the same safety perceived to have been offered while the kids are at home.
However, the line of thought that argues that children have been safer at home than they could be at school is thought provoking as it brings in a lot of factors into play. This could be argued on the premise that even though the kids have been out of school with the sole purpose to have them protected from contracting the virus, there has not been any measure that would be claimed to have helped the containment of the virus in various locations in the country. For example, it is a known fact that implementing the Covid-19 preventive measures and regulations in the country has been a challenge and we may cite many examples, lack of enough tests being paramount, as the reasons why we do not have many confirmed cases in the country.
Going by his statement, it is safe to say that the president and all the concerned parties are doing everything possible to ensure that the return of students to school is done when it is safe to do so. “In fact, we will start assessing the readiness of each school this coming week so that the schools that meet our safety standards can reopen in early September, finished the president on the matter.
Since the closure of schools, the rate at which young school girls were being impregnated, married as well as sexually abused rose significantly high in the country while young boys were alarmingly involved in various malactivities such as drug and substance abuse as well as being involved in criminalous practices that have landed some in jail. As the pandemic shows no sign of disappearing anytime soon, the only option the Malawians has is just to adjust the life styles to suit the new intruder, otherwise the question of putting everything to a stop looks to be anything but a miscalculated initiative.