Malawi schools to reopen on July 13 as Covid-19 cases escalate

BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—As Malawi is daunted with a tremendous surge of Covid-19 cases, the Taskforce on the reopening of schools, colleges and universities, has proposed that schools be reopened on 13th July, 2020.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Taskforce says the decision has been after thorough consultation with different stakeholders including teachers, health experts and the media.

“It is worth pointing out the re-opening of schools, colleges and universities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic that has led to loss of lives globally including four in Malawi, is an attempt to ensure a proper balance between the right to education and the right to life. It is for this reason that the Taskforce, at its inception meeting on 22nd May 2020, resolved to consult various stakeholders including teachers, parents, lecturers, students, policy makers, community leaders, health experts, non-state actors and the media among others, to come up with a common position that ensures safe return to learning.

“Recognizing that Malawi is not an island, the Taskforce has also been looking at regional and global trends to draw lessons on how safe re-opening is being managed in other countries. In this regard, the Taskforce has recommended to the Presidential Taskforce on Coronavirus, that all schools, Colleges and Universities be re-opened on 13th July, 2020 with specific details and conditions for the re-opening to be announced later after the Taskforce has finalized the consultations,” reads the statement signed by Professor Lewis Dzimbiri, Chairperson of the Taskforce.

The Taskforce further informs the general public and all stakeholders that it is working in a systematic and fact based way to ensure all its decision making is informed by the best of public health data and global best practices that ensure safe re-opening.

The decision of the Taskforce comes amid a sharp increase of covid-19 cases in the country, which has seen the number of confirmed cases rising to 336 with over 200 cases recorded within the past few days.

The total number of active COVID – 19 cases currently stands at 290 with 42 recoveries and 4 deaths.

President Peter Mutharika ordered closure of all public and private schools, colleges and universities on Monday , 23rd March, 2020 as a measure against the possible arrival of the coronavirus in Malawi.

As other countries debate when to bring children back into classrooms, phased-in reopenings have begun in numerous countries around the world as countries lift their lockdowns.

Various measures have been put in place, from social distancing to staggered school times, to keep students safe and reduce the likelihood of transmitting the novel virus.

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