|Taskforce Provincial Information Officer (PIO) Rogers Irimayi|
As Covid-19 positive cases continue to rise in tertiary institutions in the province, Masvingo Covid-19 taskforce recently engaged higher learning institutions leaders to discuss ways to fight the pandemic.
Principals and deans from different tertiary institutions namely Bondolfi Teachers College, Masvingo Polytechnic, Masvingo Teachers College, Great Zimbabwe University and Reformed Church University explained how they are adhering to Covid-19 protocols to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Taskforce Provincial Information Officer (PIO) Rogers Irimayi stated that they have since advised principals to abide by the standard operating guidelines of Covid-19.
“We advise tertiary institutions to abide by the standard operating guidelines, fumigation of all offices, temperature checking, masking up, sanitisation, social distancing and above all encouraging all to get vaccinated,” said Irimayi.
Masvingo District Medical Officer Dr Muskwe also a member of the taskforce highlighted that there is not enough manpower to test all students but they will screen students so that they will be able to identify possible cases.
“Manpower is not adequate to test all students but screening will enable us to identify possible cases,” said Muskwe.
Muskwe encouraged all institutions to have a copy of guidelines on how to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
However, some of the principals stressed that they are still conforming to the set rules and guidelines of Covid-19 though they feel there is a loophole in as far as movement of students in and out of campuses is concerned.
The principal of Bondolfi Teachers College Kizito Chitsama explained the situation at the college and how students are moving in and out of the college.
“The institution has more than 600 students and they are allowed to travel home visit their families now and then. However, since the outbreak of Covid-19 there have been restrictions on movement in and out of the campus.
“Despite these restrictions, communities still interact with students which put us both at risk,” said Chitsama.
Chitsama’s sentiments were also echoed by his counterpart at Masvingo Teachers College Benson Mutambudzi who explained that the institution is still using the similar strategies though he was quick to point out sources of risk.
“The institution is using similar strategies for their 618 students. The college has enough accommodation but students prefer staying out as they avoid paying the high accommodation fees.
Mutambudzi also expressed concern on the free movement of people through their premises to plots east of the college as those passers-by often mingle with students which might also be a major driver of Covid 19.
Masvingo Polytechnic principal Callisto Muzongondi and Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) Dean Sarafina Mudavanhu also stated that their colleges are acting in adherence to the set guidelines and rules.
The taskforce summoned tertiary institutions administrators to a meeting after Bondolfi and Morgenster Teachers Colleges recently experienced Covid-19 outbreaks leading to them being locked down.
The delegates agreed that partition hostels to reduce the numbers of the students and reduce on campus lectures and adopt e-learning.