BASIC Education Teachers Union of Zambia (BETUZ) spokesperson Kakunta Kabika says the Ministry of Health should quicken the process of testing schools that have recorded suspected cases of COVID-19.

In an interview, Kabika asked the Ministry of Health to quickly release test results of suspected COVID-19 in schools for all relevant stakeholders to be immediately informed.

“Our appeal is that let the process of testing those suspected cases be quick so that we are able to protect our children who are in those schools that are suspected to be having some cases of COVID-19. We need to speed up the process of testing. If the testing process delays, it will also compromise our process of protecting other learners and teachers. We have seen that the process of testing takes longer. If the process of getting the results is quickened, it will help us to ensure that we protect the learning institutions,” Kabika said.

Kabika appealed to health authorities to immediately tests learners and teachers in all the schools where suspected cases had been recorded to prevent further spread.

“Our prayer is that suspected COVID-19 cases in those schools should not worry. Through our process of monitoring the reopening of examination classes and adherence of schools to COVID-19, our findings are very clear that a number of our schools have seriously committed themselves to ensuring that they adhere to the Ministry of Health guidelines. And with the rumours that we are getting that there could be some cases of COVID-19, I think it’s important that the health authorities should be able to rush to those areas and control the outbreak of the disease in our schools. We want our children to be protected together with our teachers,” he said.

And Kabika appealed to parents and communities to avoid unnecessary visits in schools where examination classes were still ongoing.

“As a labour movement, we want to appeal to our communities to ensure that they treat schools as no-go areas for people, who have no serious business to get into schools. COVID-19 moves through a medium and if the general public keeps away from the schools, our learning centres will remain safe and we are going to have a successful term, which our examination classes have undertaken. But suffice to mention that there are some challenges that parents may want to get to the school, but our appeal is that let’s ensure that all unnecessary visits to the schools are avoided,” appealed Kabika.

“We have also discovered that our learners are adhering to the rules and regulations that have been given by the Ministry of Health. When they are in school, they put on their face masks and wash their hands, but immediately they leave the schools and go in the communities, they find that communities are not taking the issues of COVID-19 seriously. And I think this is a huge challenge that is going to create more problems in schools. We have seen that the majority of people have gone back to business as usual. Therefore, we need to take this disease very seriously.”