SOME schools in Lusaka yesterday turned away some unmasked pupils, contrary to government’s position that masks would be handed out for free.

A spot check in some schools around Lusaka found pupils being screened by teachers at the entrance while those without face masks were being sent back home.

Meanwhile, some parents were found scrutinizing the preparedness of the schools.

Tom Banda, a parent to a grade nine pupil at Kabulonga Basic School, told this reporter that he
was concerned about his child’s health.

“I came here just to check if all measures are being followed as a concerned parent. I couldn’t just sit at home because we are dealing with a pandemic and you know how bad this is. So basically, I am here to check how prepared this school is and so far, I am happy that the school is clean, all the teachers have masked up and pupils are observing the one meter distance. This is good and I hope this will continue and it should not end today. As a concerned parent I will be coming to check and if I find things have changed, then I will have no option but to stop my child from coming here. Otherwise, I am so happy and I must say keep it up Kabulonga teachers,” said Banda.

At Chibelo Basic School, some pupils without face masks were sent back because the school had
no face masks to hand out.

Some of the pupils talked to said they did not come with face masks because they thought the school would provide.

“The reason why we did not wear facemasks is because we were thinking the school was going to provide. We have been sent back home and the head teacher told us that the masks will only be available on Tuesday. We are happy that we are back at school though we are still scared
that we may be at risk with this Coronavirus. Most of our friends have not reported and we are sure the teachers won’t teach because there are few pupils on classes,” said some pupils who chose to remain anonymous.

And teachers who spoke on the basis of anonymity lamented that it would be uncomfortable to teach while wearing a face mask.

“This is bad because we don’t know how we will be teaching with these face masks. We can’t remove them because we will be also risking our health. This new normal thing is not helping us teachers. As you can see, even most of the parents have not allowed their children to report. Anyway, we shall see how this week will be otherwise, we do not know how we shall be handling these pupils because as you have seen, some of these children moves without face masks,” they lamented.

Meanwhile, Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo said he was happy with the compliance levels in most schools.

Speaking when he toured David Kaunda Secondary School, Kamwala and Chunga Secondary Schools, Lusambo advised teachers to allocate at least 10 minutes to educate leaners about hygiene.

“Remember it is the direction from President Mr Edgar Lungu that schools should be open and I happy that the Minister in charge of general education comrade Mabumba has done a good job. We
want to appeal to teachers that by all means, to allocate at least 10 to 15 minutes to educate our leaners on hygiene. Make sure that you as teachers should remove the fear in both the leaners and the parents. We want to make sure that leaners keep the environment clean
and we want to have virus free especially in schools. I am from dropping my daughter in school. She will be writing exams and I wanted to show those parents with doubts and think that we as leaders can’t take our children back to school. So me I took my child to school and I want to encourage other parents that let us take our children back to school,” said Lusambo.