The Zimbabwe government has indefinitely deferred the reopening of the 2021 school calendar amid a spike in COVID-19 infections, a senior official has said.Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education permanent secretary Tumisang Thabela said the government has resolved to postpone the reopening of schools which was set for January 4 to a date to be decided.
“Government has seen it fit to deviate from the previously announced 2021 school calendar that directed schools to open on January 2021,” Thabela said.
She said the decision was taken “in light of the surge in COVID-19 infections and the new and more contagious variants of the disease as well as the threat posed by Cyclone Chalane.”
Zimbabwe has recorded more than 13,000 COVID-19 infections and 359 deaths since March, with daily cases averaging more than 100 during the past few weeks.
“The dates for the commencement of the 2021 school calendar for all primary and secondary schools will be announced in due course as the government monitors the situation,” Thabela said.
The official, however, said the calendar for final 2020 examinations would not be affected by the deferment of the school calendar.
“In this regard please be advised that 2020 ZIMSEC O and A Level examinations will resume on January 5 2021 to February 5 2021 as previously announced.”
The deferment comes as Zimbabwe is bracing for Cyclone Chalane which is expected to affect areas to the east of the country along the border with Mozambique.