THE new normal is here and here to stay, or so it seems. This means as examination classes open in schools throughout the country, there must be ample preparation to ensure there is protection from Covid-19 for both pupils and teachers.
During his last address to the nation on Covid-19 measures, President Edgar Lungu indicated that examination classes would open on June 1, which is next Monday.
At this rate, we expect that most schools must be ready with all the prevention measures being put in place.
We know that there are many well-wishers that have been donating to schools to ensure that they have for instance, hand washing equipment, face masks, and hand sanitisers.
We are also aware the government has given public schools grants to ensure that the protective gears and materials are procured. This exercise, as we understand it, is supposed to be carried out by the actual school administration.
This is a good idea because it will get rid of the unnecessary bureaucracy which would otherwise delay and derail the exercise.
What is at stake is too important to be derailed by unnecessary bureaucracy and we hope that the school authorities will be intelligent in the manner that they handle this job. It would be sad to hear that schools are lacking protective materials when the government has released the money for this exercise.
We also pray that the spirit of laziness will not be exhibited in this case.
It is important that the government measures to protect against coronavirus are taken seriously by everyone. And this message should be imparted to the learners. Moreover, we expect that parents will have taught their children how to take care of themselves.
Indeed, it would be folly to relax just because everyone has accepted that this is the new normal. Yes it is the new normal, but a new normal that must be handled intelligently and with care.
The lives of the school children who are this weekend expected in schools for boarders, are in the hands of the various school managements.
By now, we would expect that schools which did not provide for nurses or medical personnel, will ensure that such gaps are covered.
It is important that every school now, should have some medical personnel and a proper sick bay for any eventualities.
We also note that Government, through the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) has been producing face masks for all schools.
By Thursday, the production at Kabwe’s Zambia China MulungushiTextiles had reached more than 200, 000 though the actual target is over 4, 000, 000.
This is a good development because it has also provided employment to many Kabwe residents engaged to make the face masks.
The face masks are being produced at the Mulungushi Textiles on a joint ventures with the Mukobeko Maximum Correctional Facility in Kabwe.
Central Province Mminister, Sydney Mushanga, who inspected the production on Thursday said the two facilities were equal to the task as evidenced by the progress made so far.
Mr Mushanga said Mulungushi Textiles had so far produced 210, 200 faces masks out of the targeted number of 2.5 million with a target of about 6, 000 per day.
Mukukobeko Maximum Correctional Facility had produced 10, 200 as of Thursday with a total target of one million face masks before schools open on Monday.
“As you may know, I am from the tour to see how prepared we are and I can safely say we are ready, progress has been seen since the beginning of production,” said Mr Mushanga.
We hope that the face masks are being shipped to the various schools in need as there is not much time. On Monday, pupils will be in schools and hopefully with face masks from their homes.
This is a responsibility that parents should not forget. If anything, each child should not just carry one face mask, but have spare ones.
Together the nation can fight coronavirus.