SOME schools in Lusaka yesterday turned away some unmasked pupils from attending classes.
A spot check in some schools around Lusaka District revealed that pupils were allowed entry into school premises without being screened, although those without face masks were being sent back home.
Meanwhile, some parents were found checking on the preparedness of the schools.
Levy Chirwa of Lusaka’s Mtendere area, a parent to a grade one pupil at Chainama Special School, told this reporter that he was concerned about his child’s health.
“I brought my child because today she is reporting as you know grade ones are reporting today, but I have lots of concerns mostly to do with social distancing and how these pupils will manage to be wearing masks. If you see what is happening right now, I am sure you are able to see that here, there is no social distancing. Some teachers and pupils are not even wearing masks! This is worrying to me, but there is nothing I can do because government said they have put measures to ensure that COVID-19 guidelines are followed. There is no screening of these pupils! Pupils are just entering without anyone to tell them to wash their hands. I mean this is so worrying,” Chirwa complained.
Mary Mumba, another parent, said she wanted to check the measures the school had put in place before allowing her child to start classes.
“I am 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 not happy because in other schools, pupils are being screened, but here, there is nothing like that. You can see for yourself that lots of these pupils are not wearing masks and others have masks, but not wearing them properly,” Mumba said in a separate interview.
At Vera Chiluba Basic School, some pupils without face masks were sent back because the school had no face masks to hand out.
Some of the pupils spoken to said they did not come with face masks because they felt uncomfortable wearing them.
“The reason why we did not wear facemasks is because some of us feel uncomfortable wearing them; we can’t be wearing them the whole day! We are happy that we are back at school although we are still scared that we may be at risk with this Coronavirus,” said some pupils, speaking anonymously.
And teachers who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, stressed the importance of parents ensuring that their children wore masks before leaving their homes.
“We do understand how uncomfortable it is walking with a mask, but parents should encourage their children to put on masks before leaving home. Otherwise, even with some teachers, we had this challenge last year where we could not continue 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 move without face masks,” lamented the teachers.