THE new normal — going about our lives in a Covid-19 era — can never be wished away. Burying our heads in the sand will not defeat the pandemic that has ravaged the world and made redundant, any plans or resolutions for the year 2020.

We have said it before, Government is spot on in opening schools and allowing final public examinations to be written.

Life must go on, albeit under strict regulations relating to personal hygiene and protecting each other from infection.
It is against this background that we hail Government for the smooth sailing Zimsec Grade Seven, Ordinary Level and Advanced Level examinations.

Also, a lot of work has been put in to ensure that 90 percent of teachers turn up for duty.

As we reported yesterday, the increasing number of teachers reporting for duty is a positive sign as it means that there is enough manpower to thoroughly effect the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for all examination candidates including those that are writing in isolation.

In a bid to ensure classes are made smaller, between 15 000 to 20 000 qualified but unemployed teachers are being recruited by the Primary and Secondary Education Ministry in line with a directive by President Mnangagwa.

These are just but a few of the measures the ministry has put in place to ascertain the safety of candidates and invigilators during the course of the examinations.

Statistics from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education indicate that of the 4,5 million learners in the country, only about 300 have contracted Covid-19 since the opening of schools in September.

And as we report today, about 160 pupils who had tested Covid-19 positive at John Tallach High School in Ntabazinduna, Matabeleland North, have recovered.

This is a clear indication that despite all criticism, Government planned well for the reopening of schools as well as the sitting for Zimsec exams.

Covid-19 infections can never be totally avoided, but they can be controlled.

Giving an update on the management of public examinations which started this week, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Ambassador Cain Mathema said: “President Mnangagwa directed that we should employ all qualified teachers and we have started that process with our ministry, the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

“WHO (World Health Organisation) and the Ministry of Health requires us to reduce the number of learners in a classroom to minimise the risk of spreading the virus. We have recruited more teachers so that we break our classes into smaller numbers and we are working on recruiting more.

“The Ministry of Health has done very well in this regard. If you look at doctors and nurses most of the qualified staff are employed and we want a model that will also see all our professionals being employed as well.”

The decision made by Government was realistic and practical. Exams will be written and life will go on.

But we must never let our guard down, social distancing, sanitising, wearing a mask and travelling only when necessary will go a long way in ensuring that we live long enough to see this disease that has changed our lives, go away.